In the DFL primary election held on Tuesday for the 4th Congressional District, incumbent U.S. Rep. Betty McCollum easily defeated rival Amane Badhasso.
The 22-year-old congresswoman from St. Paul had garnered 83% of the vote to Badhasso’s 15% as of the time when 180 out of 212 precincts had reported. Third-place finisher Fasil Moghul received 2 percent of the vote for the DFL. At 9:36 p.m., the Associated Press declared the winner.
In an interview with the media following the election, McCollum remarked, “It’s wonderful to see that voters still believe me and my leadership.”
Ramsey County and most of Washington County are included in the 4th District. As part of the once every ten years procedure of establishing new borders after the census, the district was only minimally altered.
After winning her first congressional primary in a fiercely contested fight for an open seat in 2000, McCollum has gone unopposed in five additional primaries and beat primary opponents in five competitive races with an average of 88 percent of the vote.
She was up against her best-funded DFL opponent this year, though. In her bid to replace McCollum, Badhasso, a 32-year-old community organizer from St. Paul, Democratic operative, and former refugee born in Ethiopia, has collected $828,000 and spent $627,000 as of July 20. During that time, the incumbent had raised $1.7 million and spent $1.3 million.
The 67-year-old McCollum claimed that this year’s primary campaign required her to spend more money than previous ones, but she noted that she has always worked hard to get votes and has never taken her support for granted.
One of the most progressive members of the U.S. House is the DFL-endorsed representative, but Badhasso said that she wasn’t progressive enough. She said that despite the congresswoman’s support for the “green new deal” and Medicare for all, she didn’t work hard enough to advance these causes and that she is beholden to powerful special interest organizations from the major business sector who generously donated to her campaign.
McCollum is a significant figure in the House Democratic majority, the dean of the Minnesota congressional delegation, and a close supporter of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. She serves as the head of a significant defense appropriations subcommittee and has helped her district receive hundreds of millions of dollars in federal funding for projects.
If re-elected, McCollum stated that one of her main goals would be to use her position on the Appropriations Committee to make sure that her East Metro constituents benefited from government funds and programs. She vowed to defend Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid benefits and to strive to ensure that all Minnesotans have access to reasonably priced, high-quality healthcare.
McCollum will run against May Lor Xiong, the victor of a three-way GOP primary, in the general election on November 8. Gene Rechtzigel came in third with 22% of the vote, losing to Jerry Silver 44 percent to 34 percent.
In the last 74 years, the district has not elected a Republican.