In an unusual move on Monday, a third party candidate running for Attorney General has backed one of his opponents, Keith Ellison.
Noah Johnson, a Minneapolis-based attorney who is running for the Grassroots-Legalize Cannabis Party, has decided to endorse Ellison after the Democrat on Wednesday endorsed the legalization of marijuana in Minnesota.
In a lengthy explanation on Facebook Monday morning, Johnson said that he shares many of the progressive values with Ellison and that given marijuana legalization was the primary purpose of his campaign, he will direct his supporters to vote for the DFLer even though Johnson's name will still appear on the ballot.
He's taking the move in a bid to prevent the election of Republican Doug Wardlow, whose election he says "would help further erode any semblance of checks and balances in a government stacked with authoritarians with no will to stand up to Donald Trump or fight for the freedom of our people."
"Whether you’re a Democrat or Republican, liberal or conservative or anything in between, we cannot afford to go as far backward as Doug Wardlow would have us go," he adds. "Ronald Reagan himself would denounce Wardlow as a dangerous reactionary."
Johnson's decision will be a boost to Ellison in an increasingly tight race with Wardlow, with the 5th District congressman's campaign overshadowed by an allegation of domestic abuse by his ex-girlfriend, Karen Monahan, that a DFL-commissioned investigation found to be "unsubstantiated."
As the Star Tribune notes, Johnson received support from 5 percent of respondents to a Star Tribune/MPR News poll last month, which saw Ellison poll 41 percent and Wardlow 36 percent.
A separate KSTP poll last month however found the race to be neck-and-neck at 41 percent each.
In a statement sent to BMTN, the Wardlow campaign claims Johnson's endorsement shows Ellison's campaign "is seriously worried about their growing lack of support among left-leaning voters."
Spokesman Billy Grant also said it's "hard to see why" Johnson endorsed Ellison given the allegation against him.
You can read Johnson's full statement here.
Correction: An earlier version of this story referred to Johnson as running for the Legal Marijuana Now Party. This is a different organization from the Grassroots-Legalize Cannabis Now Party, though they share the same goal.