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Local Political Races to Feel Effects of Omar/Sanders Rally

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Monday, November 4, 2019   

MINNEAPOLIS – Over the weekend, Rep. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota appeared with Sen. Bernie Sanders, the Democratic Party presidential hopeful from Vermont, at a campaign rally in Minneapolis.

Omar, who represents Minnesota's 5th Congressional District, is one of three prominent female House freshmen to endorse Sanders.

While the move might be making some waves nationally, Tim Lindberg, an assistant professor of political science at the University of Minnesota Morris, predicts it won't move the needle much since these endorsements aren't too surprising.

"That plays into a lot of the sort of things Bernie Sanders is already doing, you know, which is, he's really popular among younger voters,” Lindberg states. “He's really popular among more progressive voters."

Lindberg says Omar's endorsement of Sanders also shouldn't have a major impact on the presidential campaign of fellow Minnesota Democrat Amy Klobuchar, since there are still a lot of candidates left – and because backing Sanders was expected.

Lindberg also doesn't think it represents a rift among state Democrats. He notes the Minnesota Republican Party could use the endorsement in campaign attacks on Democratic candidates in local and statewide races.

Lindberg says that type of campaign fodder could especially show up in suburban territory, where Omar doesn't have the strong backing that she does within Minneapolis.

"There may be some impact there, where it's more of the Republican Party using this, you know, as another example of how 'left wing' and' radical' Ilhan is, right?” he allows. “That she's supporting Bernie Sanders, and that it's clearly 'progressive wing,' and that the DFL in Minnesota is becoming that far left."

Lindberg says the GOP could spin this endorsement in its attempt to unseat U.S. Senator Tina Smith of Minnesota. She is running for re-election after winning a special election last year, following Al Franken's resignation from the Senate.


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