MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Rep. Keith Ellison has announced that he will indeed step down as congressman for Minnesota’s fifth district if he’s appointed as the next chair of the Democratic National Committee.
“Since I threw my hat in the ring a few weeks ago for the Chair of the Democratic National Committee, I have had the privilege, pleasure, and benefit of listening to a great many party activists, including folks with long years of service and those brand new to the party. I have learned one thing: Democrats are ready for a massive comeback,” he said in a statement. “Whoever wins the DNC chair race faces a lot of work, travel, planning and resource raising. I will be ‘all-in’ to meet the challenge.”
Ellison had made comments in the past indicating that he was weighing whether he could do both jobs at once.
“I absolutely can do both jobs,” Ellison told WCCO-TV on Nov. 19. “I’m an energetic person. I work hard. What we really need more than anything is an organizer.”
Ellison’s quest to land the DNC gig has been accompanied with the resurrection of past associations with the Nation of Islam’s Louis Farrakhan that were also brought up in his initial campaign to earn Minnesota’s fifth congressional seat.
Ellison was a Nation of Islam supporter 25 years ago as a young civil rights lawyer and organizer. He condemns the group now, and says he “should have listened more, and talked less.”
Ellison apologized to Minnesota Jewish leaders 10 years ago, when he first ran for Congress. Recently, in an candid op-ed called “The Mistake in my Past,” he denounced the group again.
“These men organize by sowing hatred and division, including anti-Semitism, homophobia and a chauvinistic model of manhood,” Ellison says in the piece. “I disavowed them long ago, condemned their views and apologized.”