WHEN KEITH ELLISON resigned from Congress to run for Minnesota attorney general in 2018, a crowded Democratic primary field quickly developed. The establishment favorite for the seat was Margaret Anderson Kelliher, the former speaker of the Minnesota House of Representatives. One of her consultants that cycle was New Blue Interactive, run by the former managing director of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. Ilhan Omar beat Kelliher and the rest of the field, but in 2020 will again face primary challengers. One of those candidates is Antone Melton-Meaux, and New Blue Interactive once again signed up to work against Omar. Except this year, that wasn’t allowed.
Melton-Meaux, an attorney and volunteer minister, paid New Blue Interactive $13,875 to do digital consulting for his campaign, according to financial disclosures. But last year, the House Democrats’ campaign arm formalized a controversial policy cutting off firms that work with candidates running primary challenges against incumbent Democrats. So, after just a week, the DCCC-linked firm terminated the contract with the campaign and refunded the payment, according to an FEC memo.
But the campaign kept the valuable contact list that came with the contract, according to the FEC. Email lists are still one of the most important fundraising tools a campaign can have, and can be worth thousands of dollars.
Since entering office in the wave 2018 midterm elections, Omar, along with other members of the Squad, have been targeted by Democratic leaders to varying degrees. Some Minnesota Democrats reportedly began taking steps to find candidates to take on Omar just two months into her first term.