Democratic U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison will be Minnesota’s next attorney general, defeating Republican Doug Wardlow after a bitter campaign marked by allegations of domestic abuse and an intense spotlight on both candidates’ pasts.
Ellison helped deliver the DFL Party a sweep of the statewide elected offices and was met by a raucous room of supporters chanting his name at the party’s election night celebration in St. Paul. Ellison acknowledged the difficulty of the race but said his campaign persevered thanks to his supporters.
“Every single day I will wake up and I will fight to protect the rights of all of us,” Ellison said.
Ellison said “we are all in this together” and that “we are not going to cast anybody away.” “Immigration is a good thing,” he shouted, “having a good-paying union job is a good thing.”
Minnesota voters encountered two candidates who offered starkly different visions for how they would lead the office and two men who spent months painting the other as political radicals.
Ellison, who is also deputy chairman of the Democratic National Committee, has risen to national political prominence since becoming the nation’s first Muslim congressman in 2006. In June, he surprised supporters by announcing that he would give up a safe Democratic House seat to pursue the Attorney General’s Office after Lori Swanson filed to run for governor. Ellison won the DFL Party’s primary just days after ex-girlfriend Karen Monahan alleged that he emotionally and physically abused her.
Ellison, 55, of Minneapolis, has denied Monahan’s claim, and an investigation commissioned by the DFL Party concluded that it could not substantiate the allegations. Republicans dismissed the investigation because the attorney who led the probe works for a law firm that has represented DFL Party interests.
SOURCE: Stephen Montemayor