MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. —As the polls have closed just now, celebrations have broken up in Minneapolis, Minnesota already.
Minnesota state Rep. Ilhan Omar WINS the Minnesota’s 5th Congressional District and makes history tonight. Ilhan Omar becomes the first Somali-American in Congress from Minnesota. This is the first time a Somali has been elected to the US Congress.
Backed in her race by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Omar — who came to the US more than two decades ago as a refugee — becomes the first Somali-American member of Congress after she won the seat being left behind by Rep. Keith Ellison, who is running for state attorney general.
Omar will arrive in Washington, DC, next year with Michigan Democratic House nominee Rashida Tlaib, who is running unopposed in the fall, to become the first Muslim women in Congress. Tlaib campaigned alongside Omar earlier this year when Omar was facing , days ahead of the primary.
In August, Omar defeated four other Democratic candidates in a crowded race to fill the seat that opened up when Rep. Keith Ellison (D) announced his bid to become the state’s attorney general. Ilhan Omar defeated tonight Republican Jennifer Zielinski in this year’s general election.
We started this campaign to prove people are ready and willing to fight for an America that works for all of us. To every staff member, volunteer, donor, and voter, this win is just as much yours as it is mine.
Together, we will move our district, state and nation forward.— Ilhan Omar (@IlhanMN) August 15, 2018
For Omar ― who was born in Somalia and spent four years in a refugee camp in Kenya before coming to the U.S. at age 12 ― breaking barriers will be nothing new. When she was elected to the Minnesota House of Representatives in 2016, she became the nation’s first Somali-American legislator.
“I hope my candidacy would allow people to have the boldness to encourage people who don’t fit into [a] particular demographic to seek office,” she told HuffPost that year. “To believe in the good will of the people to select someone they believe shares their vision and not necessarily their identity.”
Earlier this year, Time named Ilhan as one of its Firsts.
We will update this story as it is just breaking.