The Minnesota Democratic–Farmer–Labor Party (DFL) thought they had a sure-fire winner in the state attorney general race this fall when Keith Ellison tossed his hat in the ring. The DFL has held that office for almost fifty years and there didn’t seem to be any danger of the GOP stealing it away this time either. But after a number of bad news cycles for Ellison, mostly involving claims of domestic abuse against his ex-girlfriend, the party is beginning to worry. The Hill reported this weekend that the most recent polling shows the race coming down to the wire and Ellison’s favorability numbers are tanking.
Minnesota Democrats are worried that allegations of domestic abuse made by a former girlfriend of Rep. Keith Ellison (D) could be a drag on his chances of winning the state’s Attorney General’s office, a post Democrats have held for almost half a century.
The Minneapolis Democrat has denied the charges, and an investigation paid for by the state Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party could not corroborate the woman’s claims.
But the allegations have taken a toll, and the race between Ellison and former state Rep. Doug Wardlow (R) is neck and neck.
To be clear, the poll they are citing doesn’t have great news for Doug Wardlow either. Ellison is still leading him, but the margin is 41-36 with a lot of undecided voters remaining only a few weeks out from the election. Perhaps even worse, only 20% of voters have a favorable impression of Ellison while 31% view him unfavorably. Again, a large number remain unsure.
Wardlow’s numbers aren’t all that high, but far fewer people recognize his name and they don’t know much about him. Ellison, on the other hand, has built up a national name for himself and he’s frequently mentioned as a future Democratic presidential contender. You’d think the voters would have made up their minds about him by now.
Adding to Ellison’s woes is the fact that a county court last week ordered Ellison’s divorce records to be unsealed on Wednesday. (Washington Times)
A county court has ordered Rep. Keith Ellison’s divorce records to be unsealed, allowing more scrutiny into the Democrat’s private life as he fights off the abuse allegations upending his campaign for Minnesota attorney general.
Hennepin County Family Court referee Jason Hutchison released an order Friday saying the records of Mr. Ellison’s 2012 split with ex-wife Kim Ellison will be unsealed Oct. 17, ruling that “open access is the presumption in Minnesota.”
Ellison’s ex-wife has already gone on record saying there was no abuse during their marriage, but that’s what she’s saying now. During the heat of a divorce, you never know what people might wind up saying. Since Ellison has been fighting the request to release those records, there’s probably at least something in there that doesn’t paint him in the most favorable light. Talk about your October surprises. This is about the last thing Keith Ellison needs in the middle of the Me Too Moment when he’s already fighting off domestic abuse allegations from two women.
Flipping the Minnesota AG seat to red wouldn’t exactly be a shockwave in national terms. But assuming that Ellison has future ambitions for higher office, he loses a lot of his footing if he finds himself out of a job with no elected office to build his record on next year. I’d still guess that Ellison is the favorite to win, but if he does he’ll be coming into office as damaged goods with a lot of questions hanging over his head.
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