by Sharon Rondeau
(Jun. 16, 2022) — A case filed early last month with the purpose of ascertaining the constitutional eligibility of two candidates in Minnesota’s fifth congressional district Democratic primary by another candidate, AJ Kern, is scheduled for a hearing on June 23 at 2:30 PM in the state’s Fourth Judicial District courthouse in Minneapolis.
Samuels and Omar were born outside the United States, and their naturalization dates, if they exist, have not been made public. “Candidate AJ Kern is requesting proof as to qualifications for office, that candidates Ilhan Omar and Don Samuels provide the underlying proof and documentation as to if, when or how they became United States Citizens to support their sworn Affidavits of Candidacy, to wit, the exact date when they became Citizens of the United States,” Kern wrote in her May 6 complaint. “The proof of the date and proof of citizenship of Ilhan Omar and Don Samuels is all that A J Kern request be provided to her, the Secretary of State, facilitated by this court. Candidate AJ Kern and Minnesota voters have a right to demand the state verify the citizenship of their candidates for the United States Representative as required by the United States Constitution.”
Article I, Section 2 of the U.S. Constitution sets forth the qualifications for members of the U.S. House of Representatives, which are:
No person shall be a Representative who shall not have attained to the age of twenty five years, and been seven years a citizen of the United States, and who shall not, when elected, be an inhabitant of that state in which he shall be chosen.
“Candidates must make sure they are qualified before filing for office as stated on the Secretary of State website,” Kern asserted.
Prior to her election to Congress in 2018, Omar served one term in the Minnesota House of Representatives representing Minneapolis’s District 60B. Born in Somalia, she arrived in the U.S. at approximately age 12 with her father, who may or may not have naturalized as a U.S. citizen.
On her website, Kern noted an alteration of Omar’s birth year from 1981 to 1982 on the Minnesota state legislative website and other public sites requested by her congressional office in May 2019. The request was made, Kern told The Post & Email last month, two days after she released a video titled, “Omar Never Naturalized.”
Born in Jamaica, Samuels considers himself “an Obama Democrat” and served on the Minneapolis School Board and City Council. On Tuesday, Samuels revealed results of a poll which he said cause him to be “optimistic” about the August 9 primary in which he faces Omar and three other candidates, including Kern.
Early primary voting begins on June 24.
Certified letters sent to Samuels and Omar requesting written permission to obtain their naturalization documents from the U.S. government went unanswered, Kern wrote on page 3 of the complaint.
On May 12, on Simon’s behalf, Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison submitted a Motion to Dismiss “as to the Secretary.” “This motion is in lieu of an answer and is made on the ground that the Court lacks subject-matter jurisdiction over this action and over the Secretary as a defendant,” Ellison wrote.
He further cited Minnesota statute 209.065, which states: “The notice of contest and any answer are the pleadings in the case and may be amended in the discretion of the court. The contest proceedings must be brought on for trial by either the contestant or contestee as soon as practicable within 20 days after the filing of the notice of contest. The court shall proceed in the manner provided for the trial of civil actions so far as practicable.”
Along with the Motion to Dismiss, Ellison filed a Memorandum of Law contending that “Contests of the state primary cannot be filed until mid-August,” citing Subdivision 1 of Minnesota statute 209.021. The statute reads:
Manner; time; contents.
Service of a notice of contest must be made in the same manner as the service of summons in civil actions. The notice of contest must specify the grounds on which the contest will be made. The contestant shall serve notice of the contest on the parties enumerated in this section. Except as provided in section 204D.27, notice must be served and filed within five days after the canvass is completed in the case of a primary or special primary or within seven days after the canvass is completed in the case of a special or general election. If a contest is based on a deliberate, serious, and material violation of the election laws that was discovered from the statements of receipts and disbursements required to be filed by candidates and committees, the action may be commenced and the notice served and filed within ten days after the filing of the statements in the case of a general or special election or within five days after the filing of the statements in the case of a primary or special primary. If a notice of contest questions only which party received the highest number of votes legally cast at the election, a contestee who loses may serve and file a notice of contest on any other ground during the three days following expiration of the time for appealing the decision on the vote count.
On June 9, attorneys for Omar filed a Memorandum of Law contending that Kern’s “Complaint contains nothing more than unfounded and outrageous ‘birther’ allegations that do not have even the veneer of a valid legal claim.” Further, the Memorandum states, “Representative Omar was never properly served” and “the timing and claims in the contest do not fall within the narrow scope of Minnesota Statute Chapter 209.”
Omar specifically cited 209.021: “Service of a notice of contest must be made in the same manner as the service of summons in civil actions.”
Conversely, Kern claims Chapter 209 allows her to challenge the qualifications of other similarly-situated candidates before their names are placed on the primary ballot (p. 3 of complaint). “Both the SOS and Omar attorneys are making the claim that I am contesting an election and I should file after the August primary,” she told us on Thursday. “They are wrong. I am not contesting an election. Omar’s attorney is also claiming this is a ‘birther’ thing. It is not. I don’t need her birth certificate. I don’t care if she was born in 1981 or 1982, etc. I seek her official naturalization record.”