Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison criticized Rep. Ilhan Omar’s (D-MN-05) primary challenger for waiting until his 40s before deciding to run for office.
“Let me just say this about your opponent then I’m going to wrap it up,” Ellison said Sunday during a virtual day of action for Omar’s reelection campaign.
“I have nothing bad to say about him because I don’t know him. Never met him. I would think that after being in Congress for 12 years, serving in the State Legislature for four, being in the Attorney General’s Office four a year and a half, I would’ve met the guy,” Ellison continued. “Who are these pop-up people who we never met making it to their 40s and decide that their first foray into public service is to be your congressperson? This is absurd.”
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“Who are these pop-up people who we never met making it to their 40s and decide that their first foray into public service is to be a Congressperson?! This is absurd.”
— Jeremy Slevin (@jeremyslevin) August 3, 2020
Reps. Angie Craig (D-MN-02) and Dean Phillips (D-MN-03), members of the Minnesota DFL Party along with Ellison, didn’t seek office until they were in their 40s and worked in the private sector prior to running for Congress.
Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz was a teacher and coach before he decided to run for Congress in 2006 at the age of 42.
Antone Melton-Meaux, whom Ellison was referring to in his comments, has managed to run an unexpectedly competitive campaign. He raked in more than $3.2 million in campaign contributions between March and April, compared to about $471,624 in donations for Omar.
He also has the support of some influential Minneapolis progressives, such as civil rights attorney Nekima Levy Armstrong.
Omar’s campaign began running its first attack ad Thursday against Melton-Meaux. The ad criticizes Melton-Meaux’s legal career, including his alleged use of “non-disclosure agreements to silence women.”
NEW: @IlhanMN is running her first negative ad against challenger @Antone_MN, highlighting his legal career ("a partner at one of the worst union-busting law firms") and opinions of #MeToo ("used non-disclosure agreements to silence women.") pic.twitter.com/QzAYzyBwNN
— Dave Weigel (@daveweigel) July 30, 2020
Minnesota’s primary is scheduled for Tuesday, August 11.