Rep. Keith Ellison managed to win last week’s primary in his bid for Minnesota attorney general, but one organization is now calling on the controversial Democrat to drop out of the race amid abuse allegations.
The Democratic-Farmer-Labor (DFL) Party offered Ellison its official endorsement Saturday during its state executive committee meeting. Speaking to a room full of delegates, 82 percent of whom went for Ellison, the former United States congressman addressed the allegations.
“Despite everything, I still care about her as a person and I don’t want anybody to say anything insulting to her at all. I want you to know that I am committed to listening to all of the voices of every victim of abuse,” Ellison said, according to Yahoo News.
“I recognize and hear those voices of so many women who were silenced when they needed to be heard,” he continued.
After Saturday’s endorsement, DFL Party Chairman Ken Martin released a statement in support of Ellison, saying that the “party stands with him in his campaign” and looks “forward to working together to keep this seat.”
“As attorney general, Keith will be a champion for families and fight to hold powerful interests accountable,” Martin said of his party’s nominee, who is facing domestic violence allegations after claims surfaced that he abused his ex-girlfriend.
“With Ellison in place as the People’s Lawyer, voters can trust that their best interests will be priority number one,” Martin added. “From predatory landlords, to opioid manufacturers to employers with discriminatory hiring practices, Keith Ellison will ensure all Minnesotans will enjoy a fair economy and equal opportunity.”
Some prominent liberal organizations are calling on Ellison to drop out of the race, such as the National Organization for Women (NOW).
“If the allegations are true, Keith Ellison has no right to serve as the state’s chief legal officer,” a statement from NOW President Toni Van Pelt says, adding that “Ellison must withdraw from the race and not put Minnesotans through another cycle of political scandal.”
“They’ve been through enough,” the statement continues. “Keith Ellison says he wants to protect women from domestic violence and sexual assault. That starts by believing survivors.”
In a Friday NY Mag article, Ed Kilgore pointed out the inevitable comparisons that will be drawn between Ellison and his former Minnesota colleague Sen. Al Franken, who retired after being accused of sexual harassment.
“In a climate where progressives are torn between fidelity to the #MeToo movement and a desire to close ranks in the battle against Trump, uncertainty about the appropriate line to take when progressive pols face poorly substantiated claims of sexual misconduct has increased,” Kilgore writes. “And that’s particularly true in Minnesota.”
The Congressional Leadership Fund released an attack ad Monday against Ellison and his supporters, criticizing Minnesota Congressional candidate Angie Craig for “standing by Keith Ellison.”
“Angie Craig should be ashamed,” the ad states. Ellison will face Republican nominee Doug Wardlow in November’s election.