MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Democratic Rep. Keith Ellison has been declared the winner in the race for Minnesota attorney general, defeating his Republican opponent Doug Wardlow, reports The Associated Press.
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The victory came following a bitter campaign, one that was so polarized that the state’s largest newspaper opted not to endorse either candidate, citing concerns that both were “too partisan” to hold the office.
The contested race began with a surprise in June, when Lori Swanson, the current attorney general, pulled out of the fight for the DFL endorsement. This led to a flood of Democratic candidates, including Ellison, who left his 5th District seat in Congress, to run in the primary.
Days before the primary contest in August, abuse allegations were leveled at the congressman by his ex-girlfriend, Karen Monahan. She said the progressive firebrand dragged her off a bed and cursed at her.
Ellison denied all abuse allegations and easily won the primary. Still, the allegations would hang over the congressman and his fellow DFL candidates ahead of the November general election.
Prior to running for attorney general, Wardlow was a lawyer for the conservative group Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF).
The Southern Poverty Law Center has described the group as a “hate group,” citing work against gay rights and transgender issues. Wardlow denies that ADF is a hate group.
Polls ahead of the election had Wardlow leading Ellison, setting up the historic possibility that Minnesota would have a Republican attorney general for the first time since 1970.
Swanson, the current attorney general, has held the seat since 2007.