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Keith Ellison files to run for Minnesota AG

Keith Ellison files to run for Minnesota AG
© Keren Carrion

Rep. Keith EllisonKeith Maurice EllisonGOP lawmaker once belittled sexual harassment: 'How traumatizing was it?' Dershowitz: Obama, Ellison have 'special obligation' to condemn Farrakhan Ellison accuses ex-wife of physical abuse, divorce records show: report 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.

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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 SandersBernard (Bernie) SandersElection Countdown: Small-donor donations explode | Russian woman charged with midterm interference | Takeaways from North Dakota Senate debate | O'Rourke gives 'definitive no' to 2020 run | Dems hope Latino voters turn Arizona blue Bernie Sanders' age should not disqualify him in 2020 Small-dollar donations explode in the Trump era 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 ClintonRepublicans bail on Coffman to invest in Miami seat Katy Perry praises Taylor Swift for diving into politics Election Countdown: Small-donor donations explode | Russian woman charged with midterm interference | Takeaways from North Dakota Senate debate | O'Rourke gives 'definitive no' to 2020 run | Dems hope Latino voters turn Arizona blue MORE strained the party and helped President TrumpDonald John TrumpCorker: US must determine responsibility in Saudi journalist's death Five takeaways from testy Heller-Rosen debate in Nevada Dem senator calls for US action after 'preposterous' Saudi explanation 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 boosts McSally, bashes Sinema in Arizona Election Countdown: Small-donor donations explode | Russian woman charged with midterm interference | Takeaways from North Dakota Senate debate | O'Rourke gives 'definitive no' to 2020 run | Dems hope Latino voters turn Arizona blue Democratic candidate denounces attack ads on rap career MORE (Calif.), Steny HoyerSteny Hamilton HoyerPelosi: I'd be a 'transitional figure' if Dems retake House Dems damp down hopes for climate change agenda On The Money: Stocks slide for second day as Trump blames 'loco' Fed | Mulvaney calls for unity at consumer bureau | Pelosi says Dems will go after Trump tax returns 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: US greenhouse gas emissions fell in Trump's first year | EPA delays decision on science rule | Trump scolds California over wildfires EPA puts science ‘transparency’ rule on back burner Public charge rule is a cruel attack on children 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.