Congressman Keith Ellison Running For Minnesota Attorney General To Fight Trump Policies

Written by Ann Brown

Democratic Rep. Keith Ellison, the first Muslim ever elected to Congress, wants to become Minnesota’s next attorney general so he can use the position to challenge the policies of President Donald Trump. This way, he said, he can join the legal fight.

“Since Trump took office, several attorneys general have banded together for court battles against his policies on immigration, the environment, women’s reproductive health, internet regulation and other issues,” Reuters reported.

Ellison, 54, is the vice chairman of the Democratic National Committee. Minnesota’s current attorney general, Lori Swanson, will be stepping down to run for governor of the state, CBS News reported. Ellison announced this week that he would run for attorney general.

“I have come to know Keith as someone who is passionate about finding every possible way to help the greatest number of Americans achieve a better quality of life,” DNC chairman Tom Perez said in a statement, according to USA Today. “And I have witnessed that passion in every single decision he has made, including whether to continue the fight in Congress or to run and serve as Minnesota’s chief law enforcement official.”

Representative of Minnesota’s 5th District, Keith Ellison at a Hillary for MN event at the University of MN
Image: Lorie Shaull

Running for attorney general of Minnesota wasn’t Ellison’s first consideration.

“A sixth-term lawmaker widely regarded as among the most liberal members of Congress, Ellison had been eyeing statewide office in Minnesota for months. He considered running for the Senate seat vacated by former Sen. Al Franken before backing Gov. Mark Dayton’s appointee, Sen. Tina Smith. And he weighed a run for attorney general until Lori Swanson, the current officeholder, decided to run for a fourth term this winter,”  AP reported.

But he issued a late bid for Minnesota governor. “It was attorneys general who led the fight against the Muslim ban,” Ellison said after filing to run for the office, referring to Trump’s ban on travel to the U.S. by visitors from several Muslim-majority countries. “I want to be a part of that fight.”

“No one – not even a president – is above the law,” Ellison said in a statement announcing his candidacy for Minnesota attorney general. “From immigration reform to protecting our air and water, it has never been more important to have a leader as attorney general who can stand up against threats to our neighbors’ health or freedoms.”

A congressman since 2007, Ellison might face a difficult race.

“By entering the race for attorney general, Ellison is taking on the state party’s endorsed candidate as well as longtime Democratic state lawmaker and former Minnesota Attorney General Mike Hatch,” the AP reported.

Ellison became the first Muslim to win a seat in the House of Representatives in 2006. He’s also the first African American elected to the U.S. House from Minnesota.