Keith Ellison will leave Congress, run for Minnesota Attorney General

Former AG Mike Hatch has also filed to run.
Publish date:

UPDATE 1 p.m.

U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison has filed papers to run to become Minnesota's next Attorney General.

The lawmaker, who has held the 5th District position since winning election in 2006, will leave Congress to run for the DFL ticket in August's primaries.

He will, however, retain his position as the deputy chair of the Democratic National Committee.

Ellison, a civil rights attorney for 16 years, promised to fight for Minnesotan consumers, protect jobs, fair wages and workplace safety, and made the point that "no one – not even a president – is above the law."

Ellison's entry to the race is the latest in a series of dramatic twists particularly on the Democratic side for this year's state elections, following an intense convention over the weekend.

He's not the only notable Democratic name to file to run on Tuesday, with former Attorney General Mike Hatch trying to win his former position back.

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Those who file have until Thursday to withdraw, with Hatch saying he's putting his name in but would make a decision on whether he'll run based on who else puts their name forward, MPR reports.

He identified one of those who may cause him to back out as Rep. Debra Hilstrom, a state lawmaker from Brooklyn Center, who also filed to become the AG on Tuesday.

Hatch held the role of AG between 1999 and 2007 under Governors Jesse Ventura and Tim Pawlenty.

Speaking of Pawlenty, the former governor will run again after filing his papers today. He will face GOP endorsee Jeff Johnson in the August primaries.

On the DFL side, the endorsed Erin Murphy will run against Rep. Tim Walz and current Attorney General Lori Swanson.

Original story

Congressman Keith Ellison is expected to announce he will run to become Minnesota's next Attorney General.

Following the surprise exit of incumbent Lori Swanson at the DFL convention on Saturday – she's now running for governor alongside Rick Nolan – the 5th District representative will reportedly file to fill her position ahead of Tuesday's deadline.

The DFL handed its endorsement to Matt Pelikan after Swanson withdrew her name from the race, but a run from Ellison would arguably make him the favorite given his history and recognition in Minnesota.

The Republican Party endorsed Doug Wardlow at its convention at the weekend.

If Ellison does run, MinnPost reports it would trigger a highly competitive race to replace him in the (very blue) 5th District, which covers Minneapolis and the near-western suburbs, and which Ellison retained by almost 47 points in 2016.

As well as MinnPost, both Politico and The Hill have reported Ellison is expected to run for AG, citing sources with knowledge of the situation.

"I will make a decision tomorrow because it’s the filling deadline," Ellison told Politico on Monday, not denying he's likely to enter the race.

As well as becoming the first Muslim to win election to Congress, Ellison is now the deputy chair of the Democratic National Committee, where he represents the "Bernie Sanders" wing of the party.

As The Hill notes, there has been recent fissures between Ellison and DNC chair Tom Perez, after the latter endorsed Andrew Cuomo for New York Governor despite an agreement they wouldn't intervene in primary contests.

This "incensed" Ellison, the website reports.

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