A political—and familial—mystery swirls around a Somali-American’s “historic” candidacy for Minnesota’s state legislature.

In early August, 33-year-old Ilhan Omar became an overnight sensation in Minnesota politics. Her primary victory over 22-term incumbent Phyllis Kahn secured the Minnesota Democratic Farmer Labor Party (DFL) endorsement of Omar’s candidacy to represent House District 60B in the state legislature. Minneapolis’s Star Tribune trumpeted Omar’s victory in a huge headline on its front page, proclaiming that the Somali immigrant’s victory had “made history.” The paper followed up with two more retrospective stories admiring Omar’s triumph.

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