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District 5 DFL calls special convention to sort chaos in race for Keith Ellison's seat

Six candidates have thrown their names in the hat to replace Ellison.
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Keith Ellison's decision to run for Minnesota Attorney General set off a chain reaction on Tuesday among those seeking to replace him in the state's 5th Congressional District.

By the Tuesday deadline, as many as eight Democrats had filed to fill his seat in Congress, hours after Ellison announced he wouldn't seek re-election as he runs for AG.

According to the Secretary of State website, there are currently 6 DFL candidates for the 5th District: State Rep. Ilhan Omar, former House Speaker Margaret Kelliher, state Sens. Patricia Torres and Bobby Joe Champion, realtor Frank Drake, and Somali-American DFL Caucus founder Jamal Abdulahi.

It makes for a crowded field in the August primary, which is why the 5th Congressional District DFL on Thursday evening announced a special convention will be held on Sunday, June 17 so local delegates can give their endorsement to one candidate.

"Congressman Ellison’s decision to run for Attorney General has resulted in a great deal of confusion and interest regarding how the DFL party will handle the primary election to fill his seat," the DFL group wrote.

"The elected delegates of our party unit deserve the chance to express their opinion in the primary race, and if they so choose, endorse a candidate. It is also in the best interests of the DFL to hold a convention as soon as possible in order to give any potential endorsement the most weight."

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Complaints about the decision

The reaction to the district DFL's Facebook announcement wasn't particularly positive, with some of those responding saying they'd prefer the candidates go straight to a primary without an endorsement.

Sara Christensen wrote that "this seems like a bad idea and waste of money."

"We have a primary system for a reason, so given how late in the game, why not just allow the primary to be the deciding factor? Let the entire district have their voices heard," she wrote.

"Sad to see this decision as it will do little to help build the party, have no bearing on who appears on the ballot, and be poorly attended," Dick Senese wrote.

There were also a fair few complaints that the convention will beheld at lunchtime on Father's Day.

The 5th District DFL said however that the decision to hold the convention "is supported by an overwhelming majority of the CD5 Executive Committee."

The convention will be held at the Clara Barton Open School on Colfax Avenue South in Minneapolis starting at noon on June 17.

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