By Jacob Kornbluh, Jewish Insider
Antone Melton-Meaux, who is challenging Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) in Minnesota’s 5th congressional district, has a 2-1 upper hand in campaign cash over the first-term incumbent with less than a month to go until the August 11 primary.
In the last filing quarter, between April and June, the first-time candidate raised a whopping $3.2 million, including $2 million cash-on-hand. In the same period, Omar raised only $471,600, and remains with a little over $1 million cash-on-hand, according to the recent FEC filings.
“Our fundraising strength has given us the resources to build an organization and volunteer network to carry Antone’s message to every corner of this district,” the Melton-Meaux campaign told Jewish Insider. “Through every channel available we are connecting with voters and have a ground game that will be able to turn out our supporters more and more as we approach election day.”
Melton-Meaux told JI that the influx of outside money — only $323,310 in contributions came from Minnesota — is an indication that the race is “becoming a referendum on standing up to the politics of division at the national level.” In recent weeks, Melton-Meaux has managed to raise his profile as a viable candidate against Omar. Nonpartisan pro-Israel groups like NORPAC and Pro-Israel America, among others, have hosted virtual fundraisers for the candidate.
With the financial backing, Melton-Meaux said he’s managed to invest in resources to connect with voters in the district, despite the challenges created by the coronavirus pandemic. The campaign told JI on Wednesday it plans to use the bulk of the money on integrated paid, earned, social and owned media to get out the vote. Last month, Melton-Meaux’s campaign released two television ads highlighting his background as a mediator — a skill set, he said, he wants to bring to a divided Washington.
“That energy and enthusiasm for a better kind of representation is what will ultimately lead us to victory in August,” Melton-Meaux said.