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Rep. Ilhan Omar wins DFL endorsement for 5th District race

The state representative won support at the hastily scheduled special convention.

Rep. Ilhan Omar is a step closer to becoming Minnesota's next member of Congress after winning the DFL endorsement at a special convention for the 5th District on Sunday.

The hastily arranged convention was prompted by a sudden influx of DFL candidates when Rep. Keith Ellison announced he'll step down from Congress to run for Minnesota's Attorney General role.

And it was Omar, who in 2016 became the first Somali-American ever elected to public office in the U.S., who got the backing of the 5th District DFL ahead of the primary on Aug. 14.

It will make her a favorite to secure the nomination in the Aug. 14 primary, with her challengers including state Sen. Patricia Torres Ray, former House Speaker Margaret Kelliher, Somali-American DFL Caucus founder Jamal Abdi Abdulahi and realtor and former Republican Frank Drake.

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Whoever wins the nomination will be a shoo-in to win the 5th District, which covers Minneapolis and the near-west metro, given that Ellison himself won re-election with 69 percent of the vote in 2016.

On Sunday, Drake was knocked out of the running after the first ballot, and by the second ballot Omar had secured 68 percent of the votes, above the 60 percent needed to secure the endorsement.

There were grumbles about the convention ahead of the event, which saw Democrat delegates vote for their preferred candidate.

Some complained that voters should be allowed to decide without an endorsement in August's primary, while there were also complaints the hours-long convention was held on Father's Day.

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