WASHINGTON - Former Minneapolis City Council Member Don Samuels has outraised Democratic U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar by close to $200,000 in the contentious DFL primary race for Minnesota's Fifth Congressional District.
New federal campaign finance reports also show that Omar, a two-term nationally known incumbent in the Democratic Party's progressive wing, has less cash to spend in her main campaign account than Samuels as the Aug. 9 primary approaches.
The latest round of fundraising details, covering the start of April through the end of June, show Samuels raising about $594,000 and ending with $530,000 in cash left to spend. Omar's campaign reported total receipts of more than $397,000, with more than $460,000 in spending power.
"It shows that I'm a viable candidate," said Samuels about the latest campaign finance reports.
Yet compared to the same time period when Omar faced a primary challenge in 2020, Samuels has had far less fundraising success than her DFL challenger at that time, Antone Melton-Meaux.
Despite ending June 2020 with fundraising of more than $3.2 million and having more than $2 million in cash on hand, Melton-Meaux went on to lose the primary to Omar by close to 20 percentage points. Omar finished the same quarter with about $480,000 raised and more than $1.1 million in cash to spend.
Samuels said this year's race is less nationalized than the 2020 campaign, when then-President Donald Trump was in office and often targeted Omar.
"This is a much more local race ... than the previous race was," said Samuels, whose campaign announced Tuesday an endorsement from the United Steelworkers.
Omar has endorsements from some key Democrats — including U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi — as well as the party's endorsement as she seeks to turn back Samuels' challenge and win a third term in the district, which covers Minneapolis and eastern Hennepin County.
According to the reports, both Samuels and Omar were individually outraised by Republican candidate Cicely Davis, who brought in more than $714,000 in the latest reporting period. Davis' campaign has been quickly spending money as she heads to the GOP primary against Royce White, and reported close to $228,000 in cash at the end of June.
The Fifth District seat is a reliably blue seat that Republicans traditionally have had little chance of capturing in the general election.
"There is no shortage of pro-Trump Republican and corporate donors motivated to fund candidates who oppose safer communities for all of us, economic prosperity and a safer world," Omar campaign spokesman Jeremy Slevin said in a statement. "Standing up to corporations and standing up for working people will always put leaders at odds with billionaire and corporate donors."
In other notable congressional races in the state, finance reports show that Republican Brad Finstad raised close to $458,000 in his campaign for the First District seat in southern Minnesota. Finstad had more than $267,000 in the bank at the end of June.
DFL contender Jeff Ettinger for the First District seat has kicked in $400,000 of his own money towards his campaign, and ended last month with close to $250,000 in cash to spend after collecting about $256,000 in other donations.
Democratic Rep. Angie Craig reported a strong financial advantage over Republican Tyler Kistner in the Second District race. Craig's fundraising report shows her campaign had more than $4.7 million in cash at the end of June, after raising more than $1.4 million since the start of April in Minnesota's marquee congressional swing race.
"I am laser-focused on bringing costs down for Minnesotans, protecting a woman's reproductive freedoms and privacy and lowering the cost of health care," Craig said in a statement. "Those are the Minnesota values I bring to Congress, and I am humbled to have the support of so many people across our district."
Kistner raised just under $492,000 and had about $523,000 in money to spend.
"As we head into the final stretch of our campaign, we will continue to harness the energy and momentum of our grassroots leaders to raise the necessary resources to flip this seat," Kistner said in a statement.
In the Fourth District race, which is centered on St. Paul, longtime DFL incumbent Rep. Betty McCollum outraised primary challenger Amane Badhasso and reported having about $585,000 more cash on hand than Badhasso.