Keith Ellison files to run for Minnesota AG

Keith Ellison files to run for Minnesota AG
© Keren Carrion

Rep. Keith EllisonKeith Maurice EllisonDemocrats face new civil war in primary fight 18 state attorneys general call on Justice Dept to release Mueller report Keith Ellison: Evidence points to Trump being 'sympathetic' to white nationalist point of view MORE (D-Minn.) on Tuesday made it official: He’s giving up his congressional seat to enter the race to become Minnesota’s next attorney general. 

Ellison, a six-term liberal and deputy director of the Democratic National Committee (DNC), filed the paperwork in Minneapolis to enter the state attorney general's race just a few hours before Tuesday’s 5 p.m. deadline. 

He’s running to replace the current attorney general, Lori Swanson, whose bid for a fourth term was sunk on Saturday, when she failed to secure the nomination at her party’s state convention.

ADVERTISEMENT

Ellison, among the most liberal lawmakers in Congress, was tapped to become second in command of the DNC after losing a tight contest for the chairmanship to Tom PerezThomas Edward PerezClinton’s top five vice presidential picks Government social programs: Triumph of hope over evidence Labor’s 'wasteful spending and mismanagement” at Workers’ Comp MORE, a Labor secretary under former President Obama.

At the DNC, Ellison was viewed as the voice of the Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersIraq War looms over Trump battle with Iran 2020 Dems break political taboos by endorsing litmus tests Iowa Democrats brace for caucus turnout surge MORE (I-Vt.) wing of a Democratic Party that’s still licking its wounds from a disastrous 2016 cycle, when the internal divisions between Sanders and Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonNevada Senate passes bill that would give Electoral College votes to winner of national popular vote 2020 Dems break political taboos by endorsing litmus tests Iowa Democrats brace for caucus turnout surge MORE strained the party and helped President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump rips Dems' demands, impeachment talk: 'Witch Hunt continues!' Nevada Senate passes bill that would give Electoral College votes to winner of national popular vote The Hill's Morning Report - Pelosi remains firm despite new impeachment push MORE win the White House. 

Perez and Ellison appeared to be unified in the effort to help the Democrats rebound in this year’s midterm elections. But tensions were reportedly simmering behind the scenes, reaching a boiling point last month when Perez endorsed New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo over his more liberal primary challenger, actress Cynthia Nixon. 

Ellison, though, is expected to stay on in his role as deputy director at the DNC.

Ellison’s move also highlights the frustration among many rank-and-file House Democrats, who have been in the minority for eight years and have had little room to move into a leadership structure that’s been dominated since 2006 by Reps. Nancy PelosiNancy Patricia D'Alesandro PelosiTrump rips Dems' demands, impeachment talk: 'Witch Hunt continues!' The Hill's Morning Report - Pelosi remains firm despite new impeachment push The Memo: Trump allies see impeachment push backfiring on Democrats MORE (Calif.), Steny HoyerSteny Hamilton HoyerThe Hill's Morning Report - Pelosi remains firm despite new impeachment push Pelosi faces tipping point on Trump impeachment Trump urges Dem leaders to pass new NAFTA before infrastructure deal MORE (Md.) and James Clyburn (S.C.).

Faced with the bottleneck at the top, some rising House Democrats have opted to leave Congress to pursue other roles. Some of them — such as former Rep. Xavier BecerraXavier BecerraOvernight Energy: Trump moves forward with rule on California drilling | House panel advances bill that resumes participation in Paris climate fund | Perry pressed on 'environmental justice' | 2020 Dem proposes climate corps Trump administration moves forward with final rule to allow new California drilling Overnight Energy: Interior chief says climate response falls on Congress | Bernhardt insists officials will complete offshore drilling plans | Judge rules EPA must enforce Obama landfill pollution rules MORE (D-Calif.), who’s now California’s attorney general — seem to have found greater power to push back against President Trump in their new roles than they had in the House. 

Ellison, who’s facing off in an August primary against Matt Pelikan, who beat out Swanson for the state Democrat's nomination, is hoping to join those ranks.

This story was updated at 4:29 p.m.