U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar’s Republican challenger claimed that the first-term congresswoman has repeatedly backed out of forums and debates, making her one of the only incumbents who hasn’t participated in a debate.
Republican Lacy Johnson called on Omar to agree to a debate before the Nov. 3 election in a statement issued this week.
“Representative Omar’s entire time spent in Congress, in addition to her candidacy, has been plagued with scandal. Recently questions have been raised surrounding her campaign engaging in criminal ballot harvesting operations, and funneling over $1,000,000 to her husband’s consulting firm,” said Johnson.
“The people of the Fifth District deserve a Representative who will show up to answer difficult questions about how we can improve the quality of life for our constituents, but Ilhan Omar refuses to show up when it matters most,” he added.
The incumbents in every other congressional district have debated their opponents, with the exception of Rep. Betty McCollum, who has represented the Fourth District since 2001. Omar is the only first-term incumbent who hasn’t participated in a debate with her general election challenger.
Sen. Tina Smith and Republican Senate candidate Jason Lewis have debated several times.
Johnson said Omar has “failed to answer” and “purposefully ignored” concerned voters in her district.
“Congresswoman Omar, seemingly at every turn, has found ways to circumvent and take advantage of the imperfections of our judicial and electoral system,” he said. “The congresswoman has made it clear that serving and answering to the people of our district is not a priority for her, instead she prefers to enhance her personal gain and celebrity status. I hope that members of the media will join me in asking Congresswoman Omar to show up for a debate to discuss the issues and priorities for the Fifth District.”