Friday, July 17, 2020

What Do Ilhan Omar and Eliot Engel Have in Common?

I fully expect Rep. Ilhan Omar to cruise to victory in the upcoming Minnesota congressional primary election, notwithstanding the eye-popping amount of money raised by challenger Antone Melton-Meaux. But if she does end up losing her race, it will be an almost mirror image of New York Rep. Eliot Engel's apparent primary loss to Jamaal Bowman -- in that (a) the outside world mostly cares about the race because of Israel and (b) the actual reason for the challenger's success will be the incumbent's failure to pay sufficient attention to their home district.

It's flown under the radar, but (speaking as someone who used to reside in Omar's district, before she became congresswoman) there have been recurrent complaints that Omar has been weak on constituent services and local issues. Like Bowman, Melton-Meaux may be attracting outside money because of foreign policy, but his campaign focus is very much tailored to the local.

Ultimately, while the frustrations Melton-Meaux is tapping into are real among Democratic stakeholders in the Twin Cities, I suspect Omar is going to be fine in the primary -- she still seems relatively popular in her district. But the parallel between her situation and Engel's nonetheless amuses me greatly.

No comments: