Keith Ellison has resigned as deputy chairman of the Democratic National Committee after defeating Republican Doug Wardlow in the race for the Minnesota Attorney General’s Office.
Throughout the campaign, Wardlow used Ellison’s high-ranking position with the DNC as evidence that the Democrat would conduct himself in a partisan manner while occupying the office. But on Thursday, DNC Chair Tom Perez announced that he had accepted Ellison’s resignation.
“Today, Deputy Chair Ellison offered me his resignation from the DNC in order to focus on his new job as attorney general of Minnesota, and I have accepted it,” Perez wrote. “Keith’s decision means Minnesotans will have a full-time champion fighting for affordable health care, a fair economy, and opportunity for all.”
NEW… Tom Perez just emailed this note, saying Keith Ellison has stepped down from DNC to focus on his new job as atty gen of Minnesota. pic.twitter.com/Rximb5eeQt
— Jake Sherman (@JakeSherman) November 8, 2018
Perez went on to thank Ellison for “his tireless service” and assistance in “rebuilding our party and rebuilding trust with our grassroots.”
“I look forward to witnessing him fight day in and day out for the people of Minnesota,” Perez concluded, but did not reveal who would replace Ellison in the role.
Ellison narrowly defeated Wardlow in the attorney general’s race Tuesday, winning 49 percent of the vote to Wardlow’s 45 percent. His margin of victory likely would have been much larger had it not been for the domestic-abuse allegations that weighed on his campaign until the final days.
“I’m beyond grateful. Five months ago, I started this campaign for Minnesota Attorney General with two simple ideas: we were going to help Minnesotans afford their lives, and we would defend equal rights to ensure all Minnesotans have the dignity and respect they deserve,” Ellison wrote after his Tuesday victory.
“No matter what color you are, what your gender identity is, what your religion is, how much money you make, how old you may be, how healthy you are, who you love, where you live, or how you pray, know that as Minnesota Attorney General, I’ll always be on your side fighting for your rights every day,” he added.
So far, Ellison has identified the protection of staff attorneys from being fired based on political affiliation as one of his first legislative priorities. He has also indicated that he would continue his predecessor’s efforts to fight the rising costs of insulin in the state.
He named long-time aide Donna Cassutt as his chief of staff, and will be sworn in on Jan. 7 along with Gov.-elect Tim Walz.
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