WASHINGTON, Aug 15 (KUNA) -- In a sign US voters are increasingly embracing diversity in politics, Minnesota state legislator Ilhan Omar won the Democratic primary to replace Keith Ellison, likely becoming one of the first Muslim women in Congress.
Omar, a 36-year-old Somali refugee who immigrated to the US as a teenager, beat a packed field of six candidates in the race to fill current US Representative Keith Ellison's seat for Minnesota's 5th congressional district. Ellison, who is running for Minnesota Attorney General, became the first Muslim to be elected to Congress in 2006.
Omar is strongly favored to win the seat in the mid-term elections in November, when voters will cast their ballots to decide who will fill all 435 seats in the US House of Representatives and one-third of the senate.
She is expected to join Michigan's Rashida Tlaib, a Palestinian- American, as the first Muslim women in Congress.
"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," Omar said in a tweet posted late Tuesday.
Omar, the first Somali-American Muslim to be elected to the Minnesota legislature or any elected office in the US, is also part of a historic wave of minority candidates looking to clinch higher office this year.
Women and people of color are still underrepresented in Congress (20 percent women and 19 percent people of color), but 146 women have won Democratic primaries in 2018. (end)