Democratic Candidate in Crucial Swing District Returns Donation From Ilhan Omar

Dan McCready (D., N.C.), the sole remaining Democratic candidate from the 2018 midterm cycle, has returned a $2,000 campaign donation from Rep. Ilhan Omar (D., Minn.), the controversial congresswoman whose anti-Semitic remarks have elicited condemnation from both sides of the aisle.

McCready is running in North Carolina's 9th Congressional District, where state officials ordered a new election in February after the initial results—a narrow loss for McCready—were tainted by credible allegations of fraud committed by operatives working on behalf of his Republican opponent, Mark Harris. Republican voters will choose a new candidate to challenge McCready in May; the general election is scheduled for Sept. 10.

Democrats continue to view the 9th District, which Donald Trump won by 12 points in 2016, as a pickup opportunity, thanks in part to McCready's strong support in the Charlotte suburbs, where roughly half of the district's voters live. The party's strong showing among these moderate suburban voters contributed significantly to its successful campaign to retake the House majority in November.

Not surprisingly, McCready has worked to distance himself from controversial Democrats who might alienate these voters. In addition to rejecting Omar's financial support, McCready also pledged to vote against Nancy Pelosi for House Speaker.

McCready explained his decision to return Omar's donation via his official Twitter account, writing that he "did this weeks ago because I vigorously disagree with any anti-semitic comments." The candidate also condemned the "dangerous and hateful attacks" against Rep. Omar, and called for an end to "hate speech against all people and groups."

Splinter cited McCready's actions as evidence that the Democrat is a "shameful coward."

McCready's comments align somewhat with the prevailing sentiment among House Democrats, who had initially planned to bring forward a resolution specifically condemning Rep. Omar's anti-Semitic remarks, but ultimately opted for a broader resolution condemning "hateful expressions" of any kind.

McCready is the second Democrat this week to return a donation from Rep. Omar. The reelection campaign for freshman Democrat Rep. Lucy McBath, who represents a significant population of Jewish voters in Georgia's 6th District, announced Wednesday that it had rejected a $2,000 contribution from the controversial congresswoman.

Rep. Omar most recently sparked controversy with her remarks about the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. During a speech (inaccurately) explaining why the Council of Islamic-American Relations (CAIR) was founded in the wake of the attacks (it was actually founded in 1994), Omar said the organization recognized that "some people did something, and that all of us were starting to lose access to our civil liberties."

Despite Omar's repeated forays into anti-Semitic rhetoric, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.) recently declared there was "no taint" of anti-Semitism in the Democratic Party.