Rep. Keith Ellison won the Democratic-Farmer-Labor primary for Minnesota attorney general Tuesday night, despite allegations that he abused an ex-girlfriend surfacing just days before the election.
With 71 percent of precincts reporting, Ellison led a five-way field with 51 percent of the vote, according to The Associated Press. His closest challenger, state Rep. Debra Hilstrom, trailed with 18 percent.
Ellison, a frequent critic of President Donald Trump, has indicated he wants to use the attorney general office as a platform to oppose Trump’s policies.
“No one — not even a president — is above the law,” he said in June, when he announced he was forgoing re-election to his 5th District seat to run for state attorney general.
Ellison denied that he was abusive to former girlfriend Karen Monahan after her 25-year-old son, Austin Aslim Monahan, wrote a critical post on Facebook Saturday.
The younger Monahan wrote that he discovered a video on his mother’s computer that showed Ellison “dragging my mama off the bed by her feet, screaming and calling her a ‘f—ing bitch’ and telling her to get the f— out of his house.”
Ellison confirmed that he’d had a relationship with Karen Monahan in a statement on Sunday but denied the allegations.
“Karen and I were in a long-term relationship which ended in 2016, and I still care deeply for her well-being,” he said. “This video does not exist because I never behaved in this way, and any characterization otherwise is false.”
Karen Monahan also weighed in on social media.
“That was my son who posted and its true,” she tweeted. “He wouldn’t lie about his own mom.”
First elected in 2006, Ellison was the first Muslim elected to Congress. His likely successor, state Rep. Ilhan Omar who won Tuesday’s DFL primary in the 5th District, is poised to become one of the first Muslim women to serve in Congress. Ellison also serves as vice chairman of the Democratic National Committee.
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