Rep. Omar, Georgia Republicans face critical primaries Tuesday


Politics – washingtonpost

Melton-Meaux has sought to cast Omar as a divisive figure, playing up a series of controversial comments she made about Jews that many viewed as anti-Semitic. But Omar, who has apologized for those remarks, is touting the support of Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) to help guide her across the finish line.

The matchup in the Gopher State’s fifth district represents the second time this summer that a member of the so-called “Squad” of high-profile liberal freshmen has had to ward off a primary challenge. In Michigan, Rep. Rashida Tlaib — who faced blowback for referring to Trump with an expletive on the first day of the new Congress in early 2019 — soundly defeated a candidate similarly casting her as controversial.

Yet if anything, those challenges have only solidified the strength of the far-left, which has grown in prominence and power since 2018 after Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez shocked Washington by defeating all-but-anointed, speaker-in-waiting Joseph Crowley in a New York district that takes in parts of the Bronx and Queens.

The latest example of the liberal surge came last week in Missouri, when 44-year-old Black Lives Matter activist Cori Bush unseated Democratic Rep. William Lacy Clay Jr., the 64-year-old heir to a St. Louis political dynasty. The upset represented the fifth time a liberal candidate ousted an establishment Democrat since President Trump took office.

This week, Bush became the latest high-profile Democrat to do virtual and online rallies for Omar, who is expected to win and who has snagged support from not only Pelosi but a series of Democratic leaders pulling for her to remain in her seat.

Melton-Meaux, meanwhile, was hit with a last-minute legal snag, as the Minnesota DFL alleged in a Federal Election Commission complaint that he violated federal election laws by hiding the identities of his political consultants.

The Minnesota race is one of several primaries happening Tuesday across the country.

Georgia Republicans will head to the polls in a pair of runoffs in conservative districts. In the state’s ninth district, they’ll be choosing who should replace Rep. Douglas A. Collins, who is running for a Senate seat against Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R-Ga.). In Georgia’s 14th, Republicans will determine who should succeed retiring Rep. Tom Graves.

The latter has caused a serious headache for GOP leaders in Washington, who have sought to distance themselves from front-runner candidate Marjorie Taylor Greene. Greene, who runs a construction company, has endorsed the QAnon conspiracy theory, which includes the idea that Trump is a messianic figure fighting the so-called deep state and that he alone can be trusted, and made a series of racist, anti-Semitic and Islamophobic comments in videos first reported on by Politico in June.

In one, Greene suggested that black people “are held slaves to the Democratic Party.” She also called liberal investor George Soros a Nazi, and filmed a campaign ad depicting her cocking a semiautomatic rifle while warning antifa, a loose collection of activists who oppose fascism and have sometimes embraced property damage and violent protest in recent years, to “stay the hell out of northwest Georgia.” Facebook removed the ad from its website.

In a June primary, Greene was the top vote-getter, winning 41 percent of the vote compared to neurosurgeon John Cowan’s 20 percent. The two will face off again Tuesday in a district Trump carried by 75 points and have framed themselves as strong supporters of the president.

With the exception of House Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.), who sought to boost Cowan by donations and fundraising, GOP leaders have done little to try to undercut Greene’s candidacy, angering some of their own members. Trump, likewise, has not weighed in.

Back in Minnesota, House GOP leaders have been very engaged in another primary that will serve as a critical test Tuesday: Their preferred candidate to take on vulnerable Democratic incumbent Rep. Collin C. Peterson (D-Minn.) is running in a five-way primary for the nomination. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) and the National Republican Congressional Committee recruited and are supporting Michelle Fischbach, a former state senator-turned-lieutenant governor. Trump has also endorsed her to take on Peterson in a district the president carried by more than 30 points.

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