Keith Ellison predicts Dems will take House and Senate in 2018

Keith Ellison predicts Dems will take House and Senate in 2018
© Greg Nash

Rep. Keith EllisonKeith Maurice EllisonDemocrats turn on Al Franken The nearly 60 Dems who voted for impeachment Franken resignation could upend Minnesota races MORE (D-Minn.) said he believes that Democrats will take back control of the House and Senate in the 2018 midterm elections.

In an interview with The Atlantic published Monday, the lawmaker and deputy chair of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) said the recent sweep of wins by Democrats in elections nationwide, particularly in governors’ races in Virginia and New Jersey, is a “foreshadowing of good things to come” for the party.

“A lot of people might have thought it was just exuberance and a sense of optimism, but I believed we could take it back,” he said of the Democratic wins in the Virginia House of Delegates.

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Ellison said that since taking over as DNC deputy chair, the party has changed its goal from simply electing a president to electing Democrats “from dog-catcher to president and everywhere in between” using grassroots engagement.

“We’re in it to win community,” he said. “If we make people feel that we’ve got their back, and their party is there for them, the election becomes the easy part.”

Ellison said he is optimistic about races even in deeply red states, like Alabama, which he called a “blue state in the making.”

The interview took place before the reports that Alabama GOP Senate candidate Roy Moore had allegedly engaged in a sexual encounter with a minor, but Ellison called Democratic challenger Doug Jones a “civil rights hero.”

“If we don’t win, it means only one thing: we have not gone to the grassroots and mobilized the people enough,” he said. “I believe there are enough Alabamians who need a better economic future to elect Doug Jones. The question is will we reach them in time for the election.”

Ellison and Moore have a personal political conflict as well. Moore has come under fire for his comments in past years that Ellison should not be able to serve in Congress because he is Muslim.