Democratic Congresswoman Ilhan Omar could be facing an unusual challenge this fall — trying to win an election against a Republican opponent who is on the run from the law.
Republican House candidate Danielle Stella is one of five Republicans vying for the party’s nomination to take on the first-term congresswoman in her Minnesota district, but The Daily Beast reported that Stella is on the lam as she fled felony shoplifting charges. Stella has reportedly been wanted for months on an arrest warrant after she failed to show up for multiple court hearings in October, and it is not clear where she is now.
The report noted that the mystery of Stella’s whereabouts deepened this week when a conspiracy theorist with a YouTube following of 50,000 subscribers claimed that she was staying in a hotel in Wisconsin and was in some kind of danger. A number of people called the hotel, prompting police to come to the scene.
Stella had already made headlines for some incendiary posts on social media, including an allegation that Omar is an asset for the Iranian government. This led to Twitter suspending Stella’s account in November.
Still, the pending felony charges and the potential that she is on the run from the law has not stopped Stella’s campaign, the report noted.
“Despite all the legal attention, Stella continues to operate her campaign—at least online. In addition to raising money for her campaign, Stella has posted messages to her supporters on Facebook and Instagram, including promotional memes about QAnon.”
Omar, the first woman of Muslim faith ever elected to the House of Representatives, has attracted plenty of attention from conspiracy theorists on the far right. Last year, Trump-supporting internet troll Jacob Wohl claimed that his life was threatened while he was supposedly investigating allegations that Omar had married her brother in a ploy to gain favorable immigration status.
As The Daily Beast noted, it was later revealed that Wohl had sent the death threats to himself from an account he created.
The allegations against Stella have drawn criticism from her Republican opponents as well. Lacy Johnson, an entrepreneur who is also running for the nomination, told The Daily Beast that Stella’s actions don’t look very good for the GOP.
“Candidates are reflections of the party in a way, and it’s not a good reflection of the party in a sense,” Johnson said. “But now, being in politics, you do learn that people do have all kinds of ways of looking at things.”