The Democratic-Farmer-Labor (DFL) Party gathered for its “Midnight Madness” event Monday night in an election-eve tradition where the entire slate of Democratic candidates cheered on Keith Ellison is his bid for attorney general.
DFL Chairman Ken Martin delivered an impassioned speech when introducing Ellison to the stage, saying the Democratic congressman “has spent his whole life lifting people up.”
“There is a choice for Minnesota voters to make here, and Keith Ellison’s opponent has spent his whole life—not just his adult life, but his whole life—bullying people, dividing communities, attacking communities, and putting people down,” Martin claimed, saying Ellison “knows what it means to fight for people.”
“Let me tell you something, every single campaign he’s ever run, his slogan has been, ‘everybody counts, everybody matters.’ That should tell you something about Keith Ellison. That should tell you what he would do as an attorney general,” Martin told the crowd of volunteers as Ellison took the stage to applause.
— Tina Smith (@TinaSmithMN) November 6, 2018
Ellison reiterated Martin’s claims that the “stakes could night be higher” in the midterms, but went on to attack opponent Republican Doug Wardlow’s former employer, the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF).
“They don’t defend nothing. It’s Doug Wardlow’s law firm. They’ve been designated as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center,” Ellison continued, citing a current lawsuit filed by ADF in St. Cloud on behalf of a Christian couple that could be forced to provide their videography services for same-sex weddings.
In announcing the lawsuit, ADF notes that Minnesota’s Human Rights Act “mandates” that if they “make films celebrating marriage between one man and one woman, then they must make films celebrating same-sex marriage.” The penalties for not doing so include “punitive damages of up to $25,000, and even up to 90 days in jail.”
“There was some videographers saying we want to be able to give videography services to anyone we want, as long as they’re straight. And that really kind of shook me up,” Ellison said of the lawsuit.
He concluded his stump speech by promising Minnesotans “a sacred oath that if I am your Minnesota attorney general every single Minnesotan will be able to expect that they will be treated with fairness, dignity, respect, tolerance, and inclusion.”
“And never will somebody turn them away, and say we don’t serve your kind. You understand? This is what’s on the ballot. This is why we are organizing” Ellison concluded.
DFL gubernatorial candidate Tim Walz was the last to speak, and condemned the “politics of division and small pettiness” coming from the Trump administration, saying “that’s who they are.”
“Everything’s what we can’t do. Christ, my opponent’s the Eeyore of politics. ‘Too hard, too hard. Can’t do it.’” Walz later added of his opponent Republican Jeff Johnson.
Other speakers included Sen. Tina Smith (D-MN), State. Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minneapolis), who is expected to replace Ellison in Minnesota’s Fifth Congressional District Tuesday, and Walz’s running mate, Peggy Flanagan.
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