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Don Samuels begins next phase of primary challenge against Rep. Ilhan Omar with debut of 30-second TV ad campaign 

Don Samuels debuts 30-second TV ad campaign 

MINNEAPOLIS, July 07, 2022 — Former Minneapolis City Council Member Don Samuels will begin a 30-second TV ad campaign today, entering a new phase of his primary challenge against Rep. Ilhan Omar.

“Twenty-four years ago, my husband Don and I moved to North Minneapolis,” begins Sondra Samuels as viewers are shown images of their North Minneapolis home, “not to make a point, but to make a difference.” She goes on to highlight how she and her husband made a difference through community service and organizing against gun violence.

Samuels is well-known locally as a staunch advocate of public safety—an issue on which he draws stark contrast with Omar. While she became a leader in the nationwide Defund the Police movement, Samuels and a group of his North Minneapolis neighbors sued the city of Minneapolis to employ its charter-required number of police officers. The suit went all the way to the Minnesota Supreme Court, which recently ruled in Samuels’ favor.  

Samuels’ community advocacy has led to endorsements from many public safety leaders—most notably former Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo. He endorsed Samuels in March, saying “I’ve had the honor of working with Don for over two decades… Don is a visionary and pragmatic leader with a proven track record of building diverse coalitions to solve some of our city’s most challenging issues, which is why I overwhelmingly support his campaign for Congress. I’m confident Don will work hard every day for the people he represents.”

The ad continues to say Samuels will work toward creating new, green jobs and making abortion access protected under federal law. Samuels’ position on abortion was called into question recenly by members of Omar’s campaign, prompting Samuels to issue a rapid and unequivocal response stating he has always had “an unwavering insistence on a woman’s right to choose and to have access to safe, affordable, and legal abortions.”

Samuels’ TV ad begins airing on televisions in Minnesota’s Fifth Congressional District this week. The Fifth District contains North Minneapolis and many of the city’s western first-ring suburbs.  The ad was filmed entirely in North Minneapolis at Milda’s Cafe, the Shiloh Temple Food Shelf, and locations along West Broadway Avenue.

Samuels has a personal narrative that makes him a compelling alternative for Democrats seeking a different style of leadership in Washington, D.C. A native of Kingston, Jamaica, Samuels was born the third of 10 children to a Pentecostal pastor and seamstress. In 1970, he immigrated to the United States to pursue an education at New York’s Pratt Institute and later became a toy designer for some of the industry’s top companies. 

After moving to Minnesota, Samuels met and married his wife, Sondra Hollinger-Samuels, and together they moved to the Jordan neighborhood in North Minneapolis, where they continued a lifelong commitment to always live in the most challenged part of their city. 

After a bullet went through their soon to be born daughter’s bedroom window, the Samuelses began organizing their neighbors. Together, they began advocating for policy changes and additional resources to improve community safety. Eventually, Samuels ran for office himself, serving three terms on the Minneapolis City Council and one on the Minneapolis Public Schools Board.

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