Garrison Keillor: Ilhan Omar's win was to make 'liberals ... feel better about themselves'

Ilhan Omar made history when she won election to Congress on Tuesday.
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Garrison Keillor is finding himself in the headlines again, this time for his views on Ilhan Omar's win in Minnesota's 5th Congressional District on Tuesday.

Omar made history by becoming the first Somali-American, and one of the two first Muslim women, to be elected to Congress as she easily won election to the seat vacated by Keith Ellison.

But Keillor, who was fired by Minnesota Public Radio a year ago over allegations of "inappropriate behavior" towards a female co-worker, attributes Omar's victory more to liberal guilt in a post to his Facebook page on Wednesday.

In the post, in which he didn't mention Omar's name, the former Prairie Home Companion host wrote: "I'm sorry Margaret Anderson Kelliher isn't going to Congress but Minneapolis liberals couldn't help but vote for a Somali woman candidate, it makes them feel better about themselves."

Kelliher, the former Speaker of the Minnesota House, had run for the DFL nomination in the 5th District, but was beaten by Omar in August's primaries.

His comment was met with some pushback from his follows, one of whom asked Keillor to provide further explanation about his views on Omar's victory.

"Margaret Anderson Kelliher was far more experienced," Keillor wrote. "Experience counts."

This in turn received a response from commenter Tom Mulrooney, who wrote: "Maybe the experience of being an immigrant and a person of a racial minority subject to organized discrimination counts for a great deal."

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MPR's Bob Collins wrote in his Newscut column that Keillor's comments echo those made by former state Rep. Phyllis Kahn, whom Omar beat in a DFL primary for her Minnesota House seat, before winning election in 2016.

Kahn has continued to support Keillor in the wake of his dismissal from MPR, and has also previously criticized Omar for her inexperience, and has described her as being a "very attractive candidate in many superficial ways."

Omar has not responded to Keillor's comment.

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