Keith Ellison’s lead in Minnesota AG race disappearing as domestic abuse allegations linger

Keith Ellison’s lead in Minnesota AG race disappearing as domestic abuse allegations linger
In spite of his denials, domestic abuse claims against Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) continue to follow the attorney general candidate. (Alex Wong/Getty Images

The most recent polls show Minnesota’s attorney general race is a toss-up, as domestic abuse allegations against Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) continue to nag the candidate.

What are the details?

In one poll from last month, Ellison and his opponent Doug Wardlow (R) were shown to be in a dead heat, each with 41 percent among likely voters. A second poll conducted by the Star Tribune/MPR News Minnesota also showed Ellison at 41 percent with a slight lead over Wardlow, who was at 31 percent.

But 18 percent of respondents in the Star Tribune poll said they were still undecided, and 57 percent were unsure whether or not to believe the abuse allegations made by Ellison’s former girlfriend, Karen Monahan.

Minnesota’s Democratic-Farmer-Labor party hired an attorney to investigate the accusations made by Monahan, who claims to have video evidence of an instance during her relationship with Ellison where the congressman dragged her off a bed while yelling obscenities at her. The lawyer hired by the DFL concluded that Monahan’s claims could not be corroborated, because she did not provide footage of the alleged event.

For her part, Monahan isn’t going away. A longtime Democrat, she’s become an outspoken critic of the party, and says the party abandoned her when she came forward with claims against Ellison.

What about other accusers?

Monahan is the second accuser to come forward against Ellison. In 2006, Amy Alexander also went on the record to say that Ellison emotionally abused her, but Ellison denied any relationship with her and was granted a restraining order against her.

Critics have called out Democrats for having an apparent double standard on the #MeToo movement — with only 5 percent of Minnesota Democrats polled by the Star Tribune saying they believe Monahan, while Democratic U.S. senators called for an FBI investigation into uncorroborated claims against U.S. Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh during his confirmation hearings in recent weeks.

Wardlow’s campaign has also worked to draw attention to the accusations against Ellison, questioning whether the congressman has the character to serve as Minnesota’s top law enforcement official.