Keith Ellison

Keith Ellison

Flurry of filings for Ellison’s congressional seat

Congressman Keith Ellison’s decision to join the race for Minnesota attorney general set off a last-minute flurry of filings for his Fifth District seat.

Ellison joined the state attorney general race June 5, the last day 2018 candidates were able to file for office. He had represented the Minnesota’s Fifth District, which includes all of Minneapolis and 15 surrounding suburbs, since taking office in 2007.

The district is one of the most liberal in the state, and the DFL now plans a June 17 special endorsing convention for the office. DFL hopefuls include state Rep. Ilhan Omar, who has been endorsed by Gov. Mark Dayton; Margaret Anderson Kelliher, the former Minnesota House speaker and current president and CEO of the Minnesota High Tech Association; state Sen. Patricia Torres Ray; state Sen. Bobby Joe Champion; real estate agent Frank Nelson Drake; and Jamal Abdi Abdulahi, founder of the Somali-American DFL Caucus.

Jennifer Zielinski, who lives in Minneapolis and works for Allina Health, is the state Republican party’s endorsed candidate in the Fifth District. The other GOP candidates include Bob “Again” Carney, Jr. and Christopher Chamberlin.

Ellison’s decision came less than 24 hours after DFLer Lori Swanson, the incumbent attorney general, announced her plan to join the race for Minnesota governor with U.S. Rep. Rick Nolan as her running mate. Swanson had previously sought the party’s endorsement for another term as attorney general, but lost to Minneapolis attorney Matt Pelikan.

In addition to Pelikan and Ellison, the field of candidates for attorney general includes GOP-endorsed Doug Wardlow, an attorney and former state representative from Eagan. Sharon Anderson and Robert Lessard are the other Republicans in the race, and additional DFL candidates include Tom Foley, Debra Hilstrom and Mike Rothman.