2020 Election

Pelosi Funnels $14,000 to Ilhan Omar Campaign Amid Expensive Primary Fight

Pelosi looks to bail out freshman who once attacked her leadership

Getty Images

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.) funneled $14,000 to Rep. Ilhan Omar's campaign in late July as the Minnesota Democrat struggled to fend off a well-funded primary challenge.

Federal Election Commission records released Thursday show that Pelosi transferred $10,000 from her PAC and an additional $4,000 from her campaign committee to Omar on July 22, one week after Pelosi endorsed Omar in her reelection bid.

The Minnesota Democrat is facing an expensive primary battle against attorney Antone Melton-Meaux, who outraised Omar significantly in the second quarter of 2020. Melton-Meaux raked in $3.3 million between April and June to Omar's $470,000. Included in the challenger's donor list is Democratic Colorado governor Jared Polis, who gave $1,000 to Melton-Meaux's campaign on July 27.

The impressive fundraising haul allowed Melton-Meaux to spend more than $1.7 million over the first three weeks of July. Omar, meanwhile, spent just $784,000. More than $600,000—77 percent of those disbursements—went to a D.C.-based consulting firm run by Omar's new husband.

Following his spending spree, Melton-Meaux holds $695,000 on hand, down from the $2 million he held at the end of the second quarter. Omar holds $732,000 on hand.

Omar, who did not respond to a request for comment, will square off against Melton-Meaux and three additional Democratic challengers during the state's August 11 primary election. The late push from Pelosi suggests genuine concern for Omar, who has butted heads with the California Democrat in the past. Pelosi criticized Omar for using "deeply offensive" anti-Semitic tropes in February 2019 and condemned the Boycott Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel, which Omar supports, a month later. Omar quickly hit back, saying, "a condemnation for people that want to exercise their First Amendment rights is beneath any leader." Melton-Meaux has campaigned against Omar's support for BDS.

While both Omar and Melton-Meaux have earned a number of prominent local endorsements, Melton-Meaux has outraised Omar within Minnesota's Fifth Congressional District. The Democratic challenger raised $273,000 from the district's constituents in the second quarter, while Omar raised just $8,000.

Neither Pelosi nor Melton-Meaux responded to a request for comment.