Minnesota Incumbent Survives US House Primary Challenge From Progressive

Minnesota Incumbent Survives US House Primary Challenge From Progressive
U.S. Rep. Betty McCollum, shown here presiding over then President Donald Trump's impeachment, won the Minnesota 4th Congressional District Democratic primary on August 9. (Courtesy of Betty McCollum for Congress)
Jeff Louderback

Eleven-term incumbent Rep. Betty McCollum (D-Minn.) prevailed over community organizer Amane Badhasso, a refugee from Ethiopia, in Minnesota’s 4th Congressional District Democratic primary.

McCollum, 68, is the longest-serving member of Minnesota’s congressional delegation.

With 26 percent of the votes counted at 11 p.m. ET, McCollum drew 84 percent of the vote to Badhasso’s 14 percent.

Badhasso is a progressive Democrat who hoped to join Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.), Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.), and Rep. Cori Bush (D-Mo.) on the “squad” in Congress.

Tlaib and Bush won their respective Democratic primaries last week.

In a statement after she announced her candidacy, Badhasso explained why she entered the race.

“I am running for Congress because we need a new generation of progressive Democrats,” Badhasso said.

“They are not addressing the issue of the climate catastrophe. They’re not addressing the issue of income inequality. They’re not addressing the issue of systemic racism in this country,” Badhasso added. ”And what we need is somebody that’s accountable to the folks in the district.”

First elected in 2001, McCollum is a friend to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and chairs an appropriations subcommittee that authors the Pentagon’s annual budget.

Badhasso said that McCollum is not progressive enough.

Earlier in her campaign, Badhasso told reporters that “we need leaders who are more empathetic, who aren’t beholden to special interests, who will fight for folks here and folks abroad. We need a dramatic change in leadership across the board.”

McCollum defended her track record of more than 21 years in Congress.

“Experience matters,” McCollum told the Minneapolis Star-Tribune. “You want a doctor with experience, you want a car mechanic with experience, you want a plumber who knows what they’re doing. And right now, with the way the economy is, and what’s happening with women’s rights and voting rights, people feel good about the experience that I’ve had and the work that I do.”

Gene Rechtzigel, Jerry Silver, and May Lor Xiong were on the ballot in the 4th District’s Republican primary.

Political analysts rate the district “solid Democratic” for the general election.

Jeff Louderback covers news and features on the White House and executive agencies for The Epoch Times. He also reports on Senate and House elections. A professional journalist since 1990, Jeff has a versatile background that includes covering news and politics, business, professional and college sports, and lifestyle topics for regional and national media outlets.
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