Three Members Of The 'Squad' Have Won Their Primaries Thus Far
"If I was considered the most vulnerable member of the Squad, I think it’s safe to say the Squad is here to stay, and it’s only getting bigger," Rep. Rashida Tlaib said.
August 12, 2020 at 4:34 pm
Rep. Ilhan Omar’s Tuesday primary victory for Minnesota’s 5th Congressional District is a good indicator that the Squad will return to Washington, D.C.
Two other members of the former freshman group, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Rashida Tlaib, won their primaries in June and early August, respectively, according to HuffPost. Ocasio-Cortez defeated her challenger, Michelle Caruso-Cabrera, with almost 70% of New York's 14th Congressional District votes, reports CBS News.
Tlaib beat Detroit City Council President Brenda Jones in the Michigan 13th Congressional District primary, according to Fox News. By the time 90% of the votes were counted, Tlaib had received 66% of the votes. The fourth member of the Squad, Ayanna Pressley, will go unopposed in her Massachusetts primary on September 1, reports HuffPost.
Omar beat out attorney Antone Melton-Meaux, who had raised over $4 million according to CNN. The incumbent brought in over 29,000 more votes than Melton-Meaux, reports KSTP. Voter turnout in the district, which has been led by a Democrat for at least the past 20 years, fared better this year than the 2018 primary election.
“If this election showed us anything, it’s the lengths that those seeking to uphold systems of oppression will go to stop a movement that wants to put power back in the hands of people,” Omar said. “But in Minnesota, we know that organized people will always beat organized money. Tonight, our movement didn’t just win. We earned a mandate for change.”
Melton-Meaux was criticized a number of times during his campaign by DFL, the state’s democratic party, and Minnesota’s labor unions. The DFL filed a legal complaint against his campaign, alleging he used shell companies to disguise his vendors.
“If she didn’t have that support, I would push her into the loss column,” David Schultz, a political science professor at Hamline University in St. Paul, said.
Ocasio-Cortez said the women’s challengers were a sign of their power.
“It’s not an accident that Ilhan and I had primary challengers. Because when you speak truth to power, power fights back,” Ocasio-Cortez said, according to The Nation.
She said Omar’s success led to people attempting to unseat the Somali American representative.
“It just tells you how damn effective she is against big real estate, against our military industrial complex, against our Wall Street complex, against basically every corrupt institution that we have right now in this country,” Ocasio-Cortez said.
Omar’s fellow Muslim colleague, Tlaib, said that her own win was a promising sign that all four women would keep their congressional seats, calling herself the most vulnerable of the four.
"Let it be known that in the 13th District, just like in communities across our country, we are done with establishment politics that put corporations first," Tlaib said. "If I was considered the most vulnerable member of the Squad, I think it’s safe to say the Squad is here to stay, and it’s only getting bigger."
The 44-year-old said it was her support for progressive policies that won her the primary.
“Voters sent a clear message that they’re done waiting for transformative change, that they want an unapologetic fighter who will take on the status quo and win," Tlaib said. "We have a resounding mandate to put people before profits."
The possible addition of Jamaal Bowman, who beat 16-term incumbent Rep. Eliot Engel in New York’s primary for the 16th Congressional District, and Cori Bush, who won the primary for Missouri’s First District, to Congress would strengthen the Squad’s reach.