After much anticipation, The Star Tribune ultimately withheld an endorsement in the race for Minnesota’s attorney general after finding both candidates “too partisan” to occupy the office.
“It’s deeply frustrating to withhold an endorsement in a statewide race that’s this critical,” The Star Tribune Editorial Board wrote in an article published Thursday, saying it doesn’t trust either candidate to “hold a statewide office wielding immense power.”
Republican Doug Wardlow and Democrat Keith Ellison are the top candidates in the race, but both face accusations of having troubling and controversial pasts. Ellison hasn’t been able to escape from the domestic abuse allegations made against him by ex-girlfriend Karen Monahan, and “his history with Louis Farrakhan’s Nation of Islam remains controversial,” the Editorial Board explains.
“His previous support for gang members and fugitive Kathleen Soliah create further doubts and would make it challenging to build a strong relationship with law enforcement,” it adds.
Wardlow, on the other hand, has been repeatedly criticized for working for the Alliance Defending Freedom, which the Southern Poverty Law Center labeled a “hate group.” Additionally, Wardlow was recently accused by a former high-school classmate of bullying him to the point of attempted suicide.
The Editorial Board claims it “talked at length with the two candidates as well as with a sampling of Minnesotans served by the office,” but concluded that “Minnesota is not well-served by electing a candidate who sees the office as a path to pursue a partisan political agenda.”
Among the Editorial Board’s criteria for an attorney general endorsement are a “commitment to justice for all Minnesotans,” “professionalism” in “advising state agencies on the hundreds of legal decisions faced daily,” as well as “good judgment and management experience.”
“Each candidate’s partisan past raises serious doubts about his ability to meet these thoughtful criteria,” the Editorial Board writes. “Assurances from both that they will keep ideology out of the office simply aren’t convincing.”
The Editorial Board concludes by suggesting that its “lack of endorsement” should “spur introspection by both parties as a major transition looms in the Attorney General’s Office.”
According to the most recent polling, Wardlow took a surprising seven-point lead over Ellison.
The Star Tribune has so far endorsed Democratic-Farmer-Labor (DFL) Party candidate Tim Walz for governor, as well as congressional candidates Dan Feehan, Angie Craig, and Dean Phillips. Both Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Sen. Tina Smith (D-MN) were endorsed in their respective races. In Minnesota’s Eighth Congressional District, The Star Tribune endorsed Republican Pete Stauber.
– – –