California Democratic candidate Omar Siddiqui on Tuesday talked about discrimination within his own own party, describing how party officials tried to get him to change his name because they believed him to be "too brown" to have a chance at winning in the 48th Congressional District.
Siddiqui, who was on the ballot in Tuesday's jungle primary and was seeking to unseat Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R.), appeared on Fox News to tell his experience with party officials and how he refused to change his name. He went on to explain what he would do as a congressman to unite his district and bring Americans together.
"‘You have government experience, you've worked with the FBI, but you know what? The name Omar Siddiqui will not work in Orange County. You need to change your name,'" said Siddiqui, reflecting on what the local party officials said to him. "You can imagine that was just unacceptable to me. I do not want to be judged on the color of my skin, but rather the content of my character."
Host Martha MacCallum asked Siddiqui if he called these party officials "out by name."
"Well, what I did was I told them point blank, I said I'm not going to change my name. I'm not going to drop out of the race because I think somebody by the name of Omar Siddiqui is not going to have a chance in Orange County. And I moved forward, and we ran an excellent campaign, a clean campaign, and we did very well. I'm very excited about the results that are going to come out tonight," Siddiqui said.
She followed up by asking whether he thought Democratic leaders in power were concerned about his messaging problems when it came to healing division in the United States.
"I love that. Well, the Democratic party is supposed to be the party of the underrepresented and the party of the marginalized. During the course of our campaign, we knocked on thousands and thousands of doors and one thing was a reoccurring theme was that the underrepresented communities were not getting any attention point-blank," Siddiqui said.
MacCallum said there are a lot of divisions in California with rural communities wanting more conservative governance and Democratic communities with higher taxes, causing many people to flee the state. She asked what he would do to bring those communities together.
Siddiqui responded by slamming Rohrabacher and accusing him of only showing up in the district when he's "coming to the city council meetings to spread hate and divide the county."
"What we need to do for the county is focus on issues that affect everyone and everywhere, homelessness for example, environmental issues, the economy for example, but you don't see any of that from Rohrabacher, but you will see that from our campaign for sure when we win this," Siddiqui said.
In California's jungle primary, the top two vote getters regardless of party advance to November's general election. Rohrabacher has clinched a spot, and as of Wednesday morning, the race for the second spot was close between two of Siddiqui's fellow Democrats, the Los Angeles Times reported.
The race for the second spot on the fall ballot was very close, with Harley Rouda edging in front of fellow Democrat Hans Keirstead.
At 1:15 a.m. Wednesday, Rohrabacher had 30% of the votes with all precincts reporting, with Rouda 73 votes ahead of Keirstead (at 17% each). Republican Scott Baugh was behind them at 16%.