Minneapolis DFL Rep. Phyllis Kahn fended off a primary challenge that threatened to send her service at the Capitol since 1972.
With all precinct results counted, she won nearly 55 percent of the vote, besting school board member Mohamud Noor.
Noor had hoped for a victory path through the district's growing East African population.
But Kahn campaigned hard this year, door-knocking as rarely before and spending cash on her campaign.
The race divided the Minneapolis district, with accusations of racism, misdeeds and legal challenges.
A man walking out of the center in Cedar-Riverside early on Tuesday said he voted for Noor because “as a Somali person who lives in this area, I feel neglected by her (Kahn) and I really want someone who can represent the true interests of this community.”
He gave his name only as Abdi, explaining, “This community is divided, and if you vote for Mohamud Noor or Phyllis Kahn you’re going to have enemies.”
An airport taxi pulled up to drop off a handful of Kahn supporters. Abdirizak Matan, the driver, said he was volunteering for Kahn because she had the experience to help the community. While the Noor campaign has already won hundreds of ballots through early voting, he noted that many Kahn’s supporters would be voting today.
“Her issues are very important to us,” Matan said.
In a resounding rebuke, Democrats joined with Republicans Wednesday to hand Barack Obama the first veto override of his presidency, voting overwhelmingly to allow families of Sept. 11 victims to sue Saudi Arabia in U.S. courts for its alleged backing of the attackers.
Ilhan Omar spent four years in a Kenyan refugee camp as a young girl, fleeing with her family from civil war in Somalia. Two decades later, after forging a new life in Minnesota, she appears on the brink of becoming the nation's first Somali-American state legislator.