An emotional Keith Ellison took the stage at St. Paul’s Crowne Plaza hotel late Tuesday night to deliver his victory speech after defeating Republican Doug Wardlow in the race for Minnesota’s Attorney General Office.
The race has been a constant source of controversy on both sides of the aisle, though Republicans were hopeful that Ellison’s past affiliations as well as a domestic-abuse allegation made against him by an ex-girlfriend would keep him from winning the state’s top law-enforcement job.
Polls frequently showed a tight race with large numbers of undecided voters, but Ellison managed to squeak out a victory over Warldow, winning 49 percent of the vote compared to Wardlow’s 44 percent.
Ellison began his victory speech by praising the Democratic-Farmer-Labor (DFL) Party as one based on the “values of love, respect, transparency, and accountability.”
He went on to acknowledge that “this race has been a tough race,” but with the help of his supporters “and God’s help, we persevered.”
“Tonight I want to thank you for your support. We won this race,” he said as the crowd began chanting his name. “I stand before you as a man with many, many people to thank. I mean, my list of gratitude is long. I can’t even begin to thank all of you who did so much for us to bring this victory home.”
Ellison thanked the “men and women of organized labor” for helping him win the election, applauding the “teachers, the nurses, and the laborers” in attendance and promising to bring “the middle class to great heights.”
“We are going to lift people up so that they can afford their lives that they want to live. We’re going to lift people up. We’re going to protect the rights of everyone,” he added, thanking State. Rep Ilhan Omar (D-Minneapolis), who also won her election Tuesday to replace Ellison in Minnesota’s Fifth Congressional District.
He concluded his victory speech by vowing to hire anyone of any political affiliation to the Attorney General’s Office so long as they “serve the public’s interest.”
“If you will fight hard everyday to make sure that every Minnesotan can live a dignified, full life, then you are the kind of people we’re looking for,” he told the crowd. “I want to say to you all that this race, this 2018 election season is a season that allows us to make a definitive, clear statement that we are all in this thing together—that we are going to stand together, that we are not going to cast anybody away.”
“We don’t care who it is—if anybody is messing with somebody in Minnesota, your Minnesota attorney general is going to stand up for them and fight back,” he concluded. “Tonight is a good night. Every statewide elected official is a Democrat in Minnesota.”
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