By Maryam Saleh
The group Women Winning has become a fixture in Minnesota politics after working to support pro-choice women running for office for the last 32 years. Among the success stories listed on its website is the story of Margaret Anderson Kelliher — “the second woman to serve as Speaker of the Minnesota House and the first woman to receive a major party’s endorsement for Governor in Minnesota.”
Kelliher lost her shot at the state’s highest office in 2010, despite securing the endorsement of the Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party, as the Democratic Party is known in Minnesota, and she has been out of politics ever since. But after a shake-up in Minnesota Democratic politics created a rare opening in the state’s 5th Congressional District in June, Kelliher decided to enter the fray once more.
Primary voters in the district tend to be mostly female, and an endorsement by Women Winning, a political action committee that is essentially the local equivalent of EMILY’s List, carries a lot of weight. Given that Women Winning already touts Kelliher on its website, one might presume that the group’s endorsement was a given. But in a sign of the changing times — at a moment when insurgent candidates are working to defeat the old guard of the Democratic Party — the group overlooked the candidate it champions as core to its success. It instead opted to endorse Ilhan Omar, a freshman state representative, in the 5th District race. Omar participated in the organization’s training program for candidates and earned its backing during her 2016 entree into politics.
The crowded primary field includes Somali-American activist and engineer Jamal Abdulahi and former Republican Frank Drake, but is largely viewed as a three-way contest between Kelliher, Omar, and Patricia Torres Ray, who has been a state senator for 12 years. The 5th District seat is highly coveted: Its current occupant, Keith Ellison, is just one of three people to hold that job in the last 55 years.
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Source: The Intercept_