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Keith Ellison Files to Run for Minnesota Attorney General

Democrat’s decision opens up Minneapolis-based 5th District seat

 Rep. Keith Ellison, D-Minn., is giving up his 5th District seat to run for state attorney general. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)
 Rep. Keith Ellison, D-Minn., is giving up his 5th District seat to run for state attorney general. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Updated 5:35 p.m. | Democratic Rep. Keith Ellison filed to run for Minnesota attorney general on Tuesday.

The congressman tweeted a photo of himself filing, saying he was running “to be the People’s Lawyer, and to protect and defend all Minnesotans as your next Attorney General.”

In a statement, Ellison positioned his candidacy as a way to effectively oppose President Donald Trump’s policies.

“No one — not even a president — is above the law,” he said.

The six-term congressman also serves as vice chairman of the Democratic National Committee. He has denied recent reports that he has been unhappy serving in that position, which he assumed after losing a bid for the chairmanship to former Labor Secretary Thomas E. Perez last year.

Ellison has been an outspoken Trump critic and sees the Minnesota attorney general position as one that would allow him to be more effective in opposing the president’s policies, MinnPost reported.

The attorney general position opened after incumbent Lori Swanson failed to receive the endorsement of the Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party at its convention over the weekend. She withdrew her name from the running after failing to receive the required 60 percent of delegate votes on the first ballot. Challenger Matt Pelikan, who billed himself as a “progressive alternative” to Swanson, then received the DFL endorsement.

Swanson on Monday launched a campaign for governor, ahead of Tuesday’s filing deadline. Rep. Rick Nolan, who was not running for re-election to his 8th District seat, joined her on the ticket

Also filing Tuesday for the DFL attorney general nomination were former state attorney general Mike Hatch, state Rep. Debra Hilstrom and former Minnesota Commerce Commissioner Mike Rothman, the (Minneapolis) Star Tribune reported

Ellison’s run for attorney general would also set off a primary to replace him in the Minneapolis-based 5th District, where he has served since 2007. Inside Elections with Nathan L. Gonzales rates the race Solid Democratic

Former state House Speaker Margaret Anderson Kelliher, state Sens. Patricia Torres Ray and Bobby Joe Champion, and state Rep. Ilhan Omar, the first Somali-American to hold elected office in the U.S., entered the race to succeed Ellison before the 5 p.m. filing deadline Tuesday, according to the Star Tribune. 

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