Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) narrowly defeated Republican Doug Wardlow to become Minnesota’s next attorney general, after a bitter campaign rocked by allegations of abuse from the congressman’s ex-girlfriend. With 94 percent of precincts reporting, Ellison led Wardlow, a former state legislator, by more than 100,000 votes.
“We never thought this was in the bag, and it was a dog fight from the very beginning,” Ellison told supporters in Minneapolis. “There were challenges along the way and you know, we just kept on pushing.”
Ellison, the first Muslim to win election to statewide office, jumped into the race just five months ago, after incumbent Lori Swanson launched an unsuccessful campaign for governor. A leader of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, Ellison said he could become a crusading attorney general, using the office to challenge the Trump administration in court, take on big business, and protect women’s rights.
Ellison’s win appeared to be part of a sweep for Minnesota Democrats, who easily held onto the governor’s office, won every statewide race, and flipped the state House.