ST. PAUL, Minn. – Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton’s office issued a press release stating that the governor will announce his appointment to replace Sen. Al Franken at 10 a.m. on Wednesday according to a KSTP News report.
Dayton’s appointment will replace Senator Al Franken, who announced plans to resign last week following a series of damning sexual harassment allegations.
Dayton, as governor, must appoint someone to fill the vacant senate seat until November 2018, when a special election will be held. Whoever wins the November 2018 election will serve the remainder of Franken’s term, which runs through 2020.
Among the names being considered to fill the senate vacancy include Minnesota freshman State Representative Ilhan Omar.
According to a recent article in Yahoo News, Omar is one of several Minnesota politicians who is being considered for the job. The article states that many are calling for a female to get the Minnesota junior senator position because of the circumstances surrounding Franken’s resignation.
If Omar, or any woman, gets the job, Minnesota would be one of just four states with all-female U.S. Senate delegations.
Omar has made a name for herself as the first Somali-American woman elected to a state legislature. What isn’t well known is that Omar ran unopposed in her bid for the state house in District 60B when her opponent Abdimalik Askar suspended his campaign due to family issues in August 2016. With Askar out of the race, it was an easy victory for Omar.
Omar’s national profile has been increasing since her election. She was recently featured on the cover of Time Magazine as a recipient of one of its “Women Leader Firsts” award and was also a guest on “The Daily Show with Trevor Noah” where she famously proclaimed, “I am America’s hope and the president’s nightmare.”
Several months earlier, Omar found herself embroiled in controversy during her campaign when Scott Johnson of Powerlineblog broke the news that she allegedly married her brother for immigration fraud purposes. Preya Samsundar of Alpha News further investigated these reports and found social media evidence that Ahmed Nur Said Elmi, Omar’s legal husband, could be her brother. Alpha News has heard from more than one source inside the close-knit Somali community that Ilhan Omar and Ahmed Nur Said Elmi are indeed brother and sister. Omar has a “cultural” marriage to the father of her three children, Ahmed Hirsi, who she was with before and after her marriage to Elmi.
In August 2017, Omar filed for divorce from Elmi. In divorce papers obtained by Alpha News, Omar claims she hadn’t spoken or seen her estranged husband since June 2011, however documentation obtained by Alpha News via social media showed her statements to be false.
Even more controversy surrounded Omar when she found herself in serious trouble because of campaign finance rules. In her end-of-the-year Campaign Finance report, Omar recorded a $2,250 disbursement to Kjellberg Law Offices on November 20, 2016. The same law office represents Omar in her divorce proceedings.
“The petition is a public document,” Carla Kjellberg told Alpha News. “I do not make comments on private matters of my client.”
According to state statutes on campaign finance, “Money collected for political purposes and assets of a political committee or political fund may not be converted to personal use.”
As a state representative, Omar raised eyebrows when she was one of two legislators who voted against a bill which would give life insurance companies the right to deny payouts to beneficiaries whose loved one died while committing an act of terrorism.
The last time a Minnesota governor appointed a U.S. Senator was in 2002 when Jesse Ventura selected Dean Barkley to replace Democrat Senator Paul Wellstone after Wellstone died in a plane crash that October.[js-disqus]