DFL Throws Support Behind Ellison Despite Domestic Violence Allegations

Credit: Rep. Keith Ellison https://www.flickr.com/photos/keithellison/17159535111/

CAMBRIDGE, Minn. – The Minnesota DFL party is committed to supporting Keith Ellison, despite allegations of domestic violence.

Ellison secured the DFL endorsement on Saturday, with 82 percent of delegates voting in favor of Ellison. The endorsement allows for Ellison to draw from party resources, including fundraising.

According to the Star Tribune, the vote was conducted on paper ballots rather than a voice vote, after one delegate made the suggestion so that they could to feel free “to vote their conscience.” While some delegates were concerned about endorsing a candidate with outstanding abuse allegations, party co-chair Tim O’Brien claimed Ellison could not be removed from the ballot. The final vote was 326-70.

In a statement following the endorsement, DFL Party Chair Ken Martin avoided addressing any of the allegations against Ellison.

“Our Party stands with him in his campaign and we look forward to working together to keep this seat,” Martin said.

Doug Wardlow, Ellison’s Republican opponent, has been quick to voice his concern over the allegations. Following the endorsement, Wardlow’s campaign called on national Democrats to “rebuke the Minnesota DFL” for endorsing Ellison.

“Minnesota Democrats have preached that we must believe domestic violence victims. That is, until it is one of their own. This endorsement is not only disturbing, but it goes to show that they will put politics above all,” the statement read. “National Democrats should rebuke the Minnesota DFL for their endorsement of someone accused of domestic violence.”

Republicans are not the only ones calling into question the double standard of Democrats and the #MeToo movement. Before the endorsement, the National Organization For Women (NOW), a Democratic ally, released a scathing rebuke of Ellison, calling for him to drop out of the race immediately.

“If the allegations are true, Keith Ellison has no right to serve as the state’s chief legal officer,” NOW President Toni Van Pelt said. “And he had no right to run under false pretenses, as a man standing wrongly accused. Voters had only his word on that claim, and the investigation is ongoing.”

“In the meantime, Keith Ellison must withdraw from the race and not put Minnesotans through another cycle of political scandal,” Van Pelt added. “They’ve been through enough.”

Van Pelt said “politics doesn’t matter” and said protecting women from domestic violence and sexual assault “starts by believing survivors.”

The allegations of domestic violence came to light days before the Democratic primary when Ellison’s former live-in girlfriend Karen Monahan accused Ellison of physically and verbally abusing her. The claims were first detailed in a Facebook post by Monahan’s son, which has since been deleted. Monahan recently sat down with CBS News to discuss the allegations, describing one incident where Ellison pulled her off the bed by her feet while screaming expletives at her.

“He looked at me, goes ‘Hey you f***ing hear me … and then he looked at me, he goes ‘Bitch, get the f*** out of my house,’ and he started to try to drag me off the bed,” Monahan said in the interview. “That’s when I put my camera on to video him.”

Ellison denies the incident, saying the “video does not exist because I never behaved in this way.”

The allegations caused another woman’s story of Ellison’s mistreatment and abuse from 2005 to resurface, and this time with new evidence. The Wright County Republican published an article in 2006 written by Amy Alexander, a Democratic activist, who allegedly had an on-and-off affair with Ellison. In May 2005, Ellison came to Alexander’s house uninvited and assaulted Alexander, leading Alexander to call the police.

Ellison denied the accusations at the time, saying he had never been to her house and never assaulted her. However, a record of a 911 call supports Alexander’s story.

The 911 report, unearthed by Twitter user Jeff Kolb, indicates a female caller reported she was assaulted by Ellison on May 16, 2005. The caller’s name was redacted, but records show Alexander lived at the address listed in 2005.

Ellison has not addressed the newly discovered 911 record.

Christine Bauman