Esam Omeish's bid to become the first Muslim elected to Virginia's House of Delegates fell far short Tuesday. Omeish placed a distant third in the four-candidate field to primary winner Mark Keam, a former chief counsel for Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin on the Senate Judiciary Committee, and attorney John Carroll.
Keam won with 55 percent of the vote and faces Republican attorney Jim Hyland in the general election to represent Northern Virginia's District 35. Omeish won 16 percent while Carroll won 18 percent.
Omeish kept quiet during the campaign about his past leadership of the Muslim American Society (MAS), a group founded by Muslim Brotherhood members in America. He has a history of making radical statements, praising Palestinians who learned "the jihad way is the way to liberate your land," during a rally in 2000 He added, "We are telling them that we are with you and we are supporting you and we will do everything that we can, Insh'Allah, to help your cause."
Renewed attention on that speech prompted Omeish to resign from a state immigration panel after being appointed by Gov. Tim Kaine in 2007.
The Investigative Project on Terrorism documented other radical statements by Omeish, including his call earlier this year for "an American Islamic movement that transforms our status, that impacts our society, and that brings forth the change that we want to see."
Omeish, a surgeon, fueled his campaign with a $45,000 loan and a $7,000 donation, campaign finance reports show. In addition, he received at least $10,000 from a series of Muslim organizations housed in one Herndon office building. Those offices were raided by federal agents in 2002 as part of a terror financing investigation. The International Institute of Islamic Thought (IIIT), which is believed to be the focus of that investigation, gave Omeish $3,500 in April.
That investment yielded 1,039 votes out of 6,623 votes cast in the primary.