Ellison open to leaving Congress if elected DNC chair

Ellison open to leaving Congress if elected DNC chair
© Greg Nash

DENVER, Colo. – Rep. Keith EllisonKeith Maurice EllisonProgressives ramp up fight against Facebook Judge threatens to put prison officials in same uncooled cells as inmates Minnesota students file federal lawsuit against school district alleging 'deliberate indifference' to racist incidents MORE (D-Minn.) said Friday that if he's elected chairman of the Democratic National Committee he'd consider leaving Congress in order to devote his attention to rebuilding the national party.

Speaking at a forum in Denver to a gathering of state party chairs, Ellison said he’s heard from DNC members who are only interested in electing a full-time chairman.

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Ellison insisted that he’d be able to do both jobs, but said he’s in the process of evaluating whether he’d consider giving up his seat in Congress for a role at the DNC that he views as more important.

“I’m in the process of deciding this issue and whether I can perform both roles,” Ellison said. “But will [the DNC chair] be my top priority? Absolutely.”

“I’ve talked with a lot of you and it’s become very apparent that many of you feel firmly about this,” Ellison continued.

“Though I love being in Congress — it allows me to serve my neighbors — I think it’s more important to build and strengthen the DNC and the Democratic Party. And so the election is Feb. 24. There’s still many I have to talk to. I’m hoping you’ll keep your minds open as we continue to talk."

Ellison is the front-runner to be the next DNC chairman, but having the next chair serve in the position full-time as been a major sticking point for many who will be voting.

When former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean dropped out of the DNC race on Friday, he urged members to only elect a chairman who is committed to making the position a full-time job.