DNC Chair Hopeful Ousted After Criticizing Rival Ellison’s Muslim Faith

Vincent Tolliver Picture Credit: Terrell Clark

“His being a Muslim is precisely why DNC voters should not vote for him.” Vincent Tolliver

St. Paul, MN – DNC Chair candidate Vincent Tolliver, a former Democratic U.S. Congressional candidate, is being kicked out of the race for the DNC chair after criticizing rival Rep. Keith Ellison’s (D – MN) Muslim faith.

Tolliver told The Hill in an email that Ellison shouldn’t be DNC Chair because of Islamic beliefs on homosexuality.

“His being a Muslim is precisely why DNC voters should not vote for him,” Tolliver wrote to The Hill. “Muslims discriminate against gays. Islamic law is clear on the subject, and being gay is a direct violation of it. In some Muslim countries, being gay is a crime punishable by death.”

He explained that the DNC’s commitment to not discriminate against things like sexual orientation makes Ellison unfit to lead the organization. Tolliver said a vote for Ellison would be “divisive” and “unconscionable.”

Tolliver participated in the DNC-sanctioned candidates forum on Saturday. He also was listed as one of eleven candidates participating in the next forum on Feb. 4. The Hill waited to report the email until it was clear that Tolliver was an active candidate.

After hearing of the email, interim DNC Chair Donna Brazile announced on Tuesday that Tolliver was no longer in the running for the chairmanship.

“We expect candidates for Chair of the Party to conduct a respectful campaign based on issues. To assure that, we ask all our Chair candidates to pledge ‘to uphold the interests, welfare and success of the Democratic Party of the United States,’ and to participate in the process ‘in good faith.’ Mr. Tolliver’s disgusting comments attacking the religion of a fellow candidate fall far short of that standard. Accordingly, Mr. Tolliver is no longer a candidate for DNC Chair,” Brazile said in a statement to The Hill.

Ellison’s spokesperson, Brett Morrow, addressed the attack in an email to The Hill.

“Keith has shown first-hand his commitment to our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters, organizing tirelessly against the Minnesota anti-marriage equality amendment in 2012, which led to a resounding win for love at the ballot box.” Morrow wrote to The Hill.

Ellison is a top contender for DNC Chair. The vote for the chairmanship will be held later this month.