The Republican nominee running against DFL candidate Ilhan Omar in Minneapolis’ state House District 60B is suspending his campaign due to family issues.
Abdimalik Askar, an educator and community activist, is the GOP pick on the ballot against Omar, a political newcomer. The state office race would be the first in the country in which two major-party candidates are Somali-American.
It’s been a tough year for Askar, who told constituents that he recently lost his father. Askar’s wife is pregnant and he’s attempting to complete a doctoral degree at St. Mary’s.
David Pascoe, Askar’s campaign chairman, said the death of Askar’s father “took the wind out of his sails.”
Askar’s name will remain on the ballot unless another Republican candidate steps forward in his place, Pascoe said. But that’s unlikely at this point in the election cycle.
“This campaign has enriched my life, widened my circle of friends, and given me renewed hope for the future,” Askar wrote on his Facebook page. “I have no regrets and I am proud to be a REPUBLICAN.”
Pascoe doesn’t believe this will be the last of Askar’s political life, though he may not run for the same seat again. Askar wowed the party with his inspirational background. After immigrating to the United States, he first began working with livestock. He eventually learned English, adapted to the culture and furthered his education.
“This is what’s it’s about — this is the American dream,” Pascoe said. “That was a huge selling point for a lot of Republicans.”
District 60B, which is made up of parts of the Cedar-Riverside neighborhood, southeast Minneapolis and the University of Minnesota, is among the most liberal in the state. Longtime legislator Phyllis Kahn represented the district for more than 40 years. Omar defeated Kahn in the DFL primary this month.