Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.), a congressman since 2007 and deputy chairman of the Democratic National Committee, made a late-hour entry into the attorney general’s race in Minnesota on Tuesday.
Ellison announced his candidacy on the final day of filing and one day after the Democratic incumbent, Lori Swanson, announced that she would run for governor, opening up the attorney general’s race.
Ellison, a high-profile supporter of Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) in the 2016 presidential race, was the runner-up in the race for the DNC chairmanship last year. The winner, Tom Perez, a former Obama administration official, named Ellison deputy chairman in his first act as a way to unite the establishment and progressive wings of the party.
In a statement Tuesday, Ellison, who was the first Muslim elected to Congress, said he would continue a tradition of fighting for his constituents if elected to the new post.
“Our Pledge of Allegiance promises an America with liberty and justice for all — no exceptions,” Ellison said. “But too often, Minnesota’s working families and the most vulnerable among us are taken advantage of or are targets of discrimination. I am running to be the People’s Lawyer to hold those in power accountable and to protect and defend all Minnesotans.”
Ellison is expected to face primary competition but starts the race with high name identification and a broad network of supporters.