Most Democratic-Farmer-Labor (DFL) Party candidates have avoided campaigning with Keith Ellison ever since he was accused of domestic abuse, but Sen. Tina Smith (D-MN) praised him as a “terrific” candidate on Thursday.
“Everybody, Keith Ellison is going to make a terrific attorney general,” Smith said during one of the first stops of the DFL’s get-out-the-vote bus tour. DFL gubernatorial candidate Tim Walz and his running mate, Peggy Flanagan can be seen applauding Smith’s comments in the background.
But Ellison himself won’t even be participating in the DFL’s 28-stop bus tour, making him the only major candidate not scheduled to make an appearance, except for Rep. Collin Peterson (D-MN-07).
Republican Karin Housley blasted Smith as hypocritical and “extreme” after video of Smith’s stump speech began to circulate on social media.
“My opponent Tina Smith is still supporting Keith Ellison and says he’ll make a terrific attorney general. Yikes. Talk about extreme, the double standard, the hypocrisy, and complete dismissal of victims of abuse,” Housley tweeted, saying that “the real Tina showed up in Mankato today.”
My opponent @TinaSmithMN is still supporting Keith Ellison & says he’ll make a terrific attorney general. Yikes. Talk about extreme, the double standard, the hypocrisy & compete dismissal of victims of abuse. The real Tina showed up in Mankato today. https://t.co/yhJ7kWbjow
— Karin Housley (@KarinHousley) November 1, 2018
While Ellison won’t be participating in the bus tour, several of his campaign yard signs are still being displayed at each stop.
Smith’s Thursday comments in support of Ellison likely won’t help her already struggling campaign. The latest polls show Republican Karin Housley trailing by only six points, and Democratic Party leaders are starting to worry.
On Wednesday, it was reported that Democrats dropped roughly $1.1 million on ad buys against Housley to be aired during the final days of the campaign. Smith, who skipped KSTP’s statewide debate in October, squared off with Housley Thursday night—just five days before the midterms.
“Tina Smith is a tireless fighter for Minnesota. In just 10 months in the Senate, she’s advocated on behalf of Minnesotans and worked across the aisle to get things done,” the DFL tweeted before the debate. “We’re excited to stand with Tina for tonight’s #MNSen debate.”
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