White candidates are never asked how they win minority-majority districts, says first Muslim congresswoman-elect

Rep.-elect Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) said in an interview that aired Tuesday on "Rising" that white candidates are rarely asked how they win their elections in minority-majority districts, while minority candidates are often asked the opposite. 

“I just wanted to follow up on that. I represent a district that is nearly 70 percent white, and Congressman Keith EllisonKeith Maurice EllisonDemocrats face new civil war in primary fight 18 state attorneys general call on Justice Dept to release Mueller report Keith Ellison: Evidence points to Trump being 'sympathetic' to white nationalist point of view MORE used to represent this district," Omar told Hill.TV on Monday. 

"The question that is never asked of a white candidate when they represent a minority-majority district is that how did you win your election. So, I just want to say in a new era where we are focused on talking about what’s at stake for the people that we represent I hope that kind of question is one that we never ask in the same way that I hope we are never continuously talking about the first,” she continued. 

Omar defeated Republican Jennifer Zielinski in the race for Minnesota's 5th District last week, becoming one of the first two Muslim women to serve in Congress, along with Michigan Rep.-elect Rashida Tlaib (D). 

Omar was one of the incoming representatives from the Progressive Caucus to visit Washington on Monday. 

Rep.-elect Ayanna Presley (D-Mass.) emphasized to Hill.TV that expanding the electorate was key to their victories last week, especially when it comes to minority candidates representing majority-white districts. 

“There are many people that feel ignored, left out and left behind, and I think ultimately what we accomplished is that we expanded the table of democracy. And I hope that what we are ushering in is a new paradigm where we no longer make assumptions about who desires and deserves to have a seat at the table of democracy," Presley said. 

"Within the student vote alone at Boston University, which is included in our district, the vote grew by 400 percent. The Latino electorate is 7 percent, the Latino population is 7 percent of this district, and their vote grew from 2014 to '18 by 71 percent, and then 54 percent of our primary voters this was the first time they ever voted in a primary," she continued. 

— Alison Spann