WASHINGTON—Two Democratic House candidates—one a freshman member of Congress— have declined to accept donations from Minnesota Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar, who has faced criticism from Republicans and some members of her own party over comments regarding the American relationship with Israel.
Dan McCready, the Democrat running in a special election in North Carolina that was called thanks to allegations of fraud in last year's election in the district, took to Twitter on Wednesday evening to explain why he decided to return Omar's donation.
"I did this weeks ago because I vigorously disagree with any anti-semitic comments. Since this time, dangerous and hateful attacks have started against her," he wrote.
"I condemn in the strongest terms the hateful rhetoric against her, the Muslim community and people of color. Too many have been hurt by our broken politics. We must end hate speech against all people and groups."
Omar donated $2,000 to McCready's campaign last year, and his campaign issued the Omar campaign a refund on March 30. The refund was reported on McCready's first quarter fundraising disclosure, which was filed on Monday.
Democratic Rep. Lucy McBath's campaign told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution it also declined a $2,000 donation from the congresswoman. She narrowly defeated GOP Rep. Karen Handel in November in her suburban Atlanta district.
Omar has faced criticism for her comments about the Israel lobby, which Democratic leadership panned as trafficking in "anti-Semitic tropes." She apologized for those comments earlier this year.
The GOP continues to hammer Democrats over her comments, accusing the party of not adequately condemning anti-Semitism. And President Trump has blasted her in recent days by pointing to comments she made about 9/11.
Omar's defenders have argued the condemnation is in bad faith—that her comments about the Israel lobby were only meant to critique the power of money in the political system, while her comments on 9/11 were taken out of context and the criticism has led to threats on her life.
But the decision by these two candidates to distance themselves from Omar and return her donations ahead of two likely contentious elections shows that at least some purple-district politicians see an association with her as a possible political risk.