Colorado Gov. Donates to Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar's Primary Opponent

Colorado Governor Jared Polis donated $1,000 to the Congressional campaign of Minnesota Democrat Antone Melton-Meaux, who is running against incumbent Democratic Representative Ilhan Omar in the state's 2020 primary, according to data from the Federal Election Commission.

Melton-Meaux, an attorney who owns a mediation firm, has not run for political office before. Local figures such as civil rights activist Nekima Levy Armstrong have endorsed Melton-Meaux's campaign.

Melton-Meaux has raised $3.2 million for his campaign since May, much of which has been donated from sources outside of Minnesota. That number represents an amount approximately six times greater than Omar's campaign has raised. Omar's campaign reported raising $1.1 million during the second quarter of fundraising. In addition to money from Governor Polis, Melton-Meaux's campaign has also accepted a $1,000 donation from the pro-Israel Seattle-based Northwest PAC.

Newsweek reached out to Governor Polis' office for comment.

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Melton-Meaux has referred to Omar as "divisive" and being out of touch with her constituents. "It's not time for someone who wants to be a celebrity," Melton-Meaux told WCCO on Thursday. "It's time for someone who wants to do the work. It's not time for someone who wants to burn bridges. It's time for someone who wants to bring people together to get things done."

ilhan omar
Minnesota Democratic Representative Ilhan Omar has not secured as much campaign funding as her main opponent, first-time candidate Antone Mantone-Meaux. Sarah Silbiger/Getty

Chairman of the Minnesota Democrat-Farmer-Labor Party Ken Martin and Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison said at a July news conference that campaign donations to candidates besides Omar were part of a concerted effort to remove Omar from office.

"Minnesotans need to ask where is this mountain of money coming from and why are they doing it and what do they expect for it," Ellison said.

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Minnesota's Congressional primary election is expected to take place in August.

Omar, who is a practicing Muslim, has faced criticism for her remarks in 2019 that were perceived to be anti-Semitic. Congresswoman Omar alleged that Israel had received support from Washington lawmakers because of Jewish campaign donations. In particular, Omar took aim at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), a pro-Israel lobbying group.

In response, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy said that "anti-Semitic tropes have no place in the halls of Congress."

Omar apologized for her comments. "My intention is never to offend my constituents or Jewish Americans as a whole," Omar wrote. "We have to always be willing to step back and think through criticism, just as I expect people to hear me when others attack me for my identity. This is why I unequivocally apologize."

After President Donald Trump tweeted in August 2019 that Omar and Tlaib were "the face of the Democratic Party and they HATE Israel!" Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu banned Omar and fellow congresswoman Rashida Tlaib from visiting Israel.

Trump's decision was criticized by lawmakers and by AIPAC, which wrote in a tweet that it believed "every member of Congress should be able to visit and experience our democratic ally Israel firsthand."

Colorado Gov. Donates to Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar's Primary Opponent | U.S.