Ellison wins Minnesota attorney general race despite controversy

Rep. Keith Ellison (D) on Tuesday won the race to become Minnesota’s attorney general, overcoming late-breaking allegations that he had mistreated a former girlfriend.

Ellison defeated Republican Doug Wardlow, a former state representative.

Ellison’s victory, while initially considered a lock, was thrown into doubt over the summer when a former girlfriend, Karen Monahan, said he had emotionally abused her and thrown her off of a bed — allegations Ellison has vehemently denied.

{mosads}Wardlow, 40, had generated his own unflattering headlines in recent weeks. At a closed-door Republican fundraiser this fall, Wardlow reportedly vowed that, if victorious, he would “fire 42 Democratic attorneys right off the bat and get Republican attorneys in there.” 

The remarks prompted a quick response from Ellison, who said his “first legislative priority” would be to shield state attorneys from politically motivated firings. 

Those weren’t the only controversies in the heated race. 

Ellison, 55, came under repeated scrutiny for his years-old association with Louis Farrakhan, the leader of the Nation of Islam with a proclivity for making anti-Semitic comments. 

Wardlow was forced to defend his previous work for the Alliance Defending Freedom, a conservative organization deemed a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center for its efforts to undermine LGBT rights.

The Minneapolis Star Tribune declined to endorse either candidate, calling them both “flawed.”

First elected to the House in 2006, Ellison was the first Muslim ever to sit in Congress and quickly built a reputation as one of the body’s most liberal members. He has focused largely on issues of economic justice, and served for six years as a co-chairman of the Congressional Progressive Caucus.

More recently, Ellison gained national prominence after being tapped as deputy chairman of the Democratic National Committee (DNC), a post he assumed after losing a close race for the chairmanship to former Labor Secretary Tom Perez. 

Tags 2022 midterm elections Keith Ellison Minnesota Tom Perez
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