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Keith Ellison confirms he's running for DNC chair

Minnesota Congressman Keith Ellison has confirmed his candidacy to become the next chair of the Democratic National Committee (DNC).
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Keith Ellison confirmed he's running to become the next chair of the Democratic National Committee (DNC).

The U.S. representative for Minnesota's 5th Congressional District – who won re-election last Tuesday – announced he would run in a statement sent to GoMN on Monday.

He has been backed by Sens. Bernie Sanders and Harry Reid for the position.

"I am proud to announce my candidacy for Chair of the Democratic National Committee, and if given the opportunity to serve, I will work tirelessly to make the Democratic Party an organization that brings us together and advances an agenda that improves people’s lives," he said.

The Democratic Party is looking for new leadership in the wake of Donald Trump's surprise election win last week, which was achieved on the back of stronger-than-expected performance among the working and middle classes of the Midwest.

In his statement, Rep. Ellison says the party "must begin the rebuilding process now," and let people know they care about them all the time, not only every two years when they ask for voters' support.

"This election cycle, we did not motivate enough people to the ballot box. We must champion the challenges of working families and give voters a reason to show up at the polls in 2018 and beyond," he said. "We must build a bench not just for federal candidates, but for state and local candidates across the nation."

"We also need a robust party organization in every state that prioritizes voter relationships over everything else. We must invest in and empower our state and local parties by creating effective field operations, an enhanced and advanced voter file, and a culture of collaboration between candidates at every level," he added.

Ellison says he can do both jobs

Ellison appeared on NBC's Meet the Press on Sunday, telling host Chuck Todd that many Americans have been "looking and 40 years of flat wages" and made a pitch for "shared prosperity" across the country.

Reducing income inequality was one of the key policies of Sen. Sanders, whom Ellison supported, when he ran for the Democratic nomination.

He also said he believes he could do the job of DNC chair while still representing the 5th District.

In his endorsement of Ellison, Sen. Sanders said the Democratic Party needs to "make it clear that we will become a grassroots party which stands with working families of this country" and that works for everyone, not just the 1 percent.

"That's the kind of change Keith Ellison represents and why he must become the next chair of the Democratic Party," he adds.

He's also got the backing of Minnesota Senator Al Franken, who posted the following on Monday afternoon.

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