Rep. Keith Ellison addresses his campaign volunteers and supporters before sending them off on a door knocking campaign, Friday, Aug. 17, 2017 in Minneapolis. Minnesota Rep. Keith Ellison said Friday he won't abandon his campaign for attorney general amid allegations that he once physically abused an ex-girlfriend and said if she claims to have a video of the incident she should produce it. (Alex Kormann/Star Tribune via AP)

Minnesota Democrats endorse Ellison amid abuse allegation

August 18, 2018 - 4:04 pm

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Minnesota Democrats are standing behind U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison and his bid for state attorney general, with the state party giving him an endorsement Saturday amid an allegation of domestic abuse from an ex-girlfriend.

Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party Chairman Ken Martin said in a statement that Ellison "will be a champion for families and fight to hold powerful interests accountable."

Ellison received 326 votes, or 82 percent of delegates on hand at the party's state executive committee meeting Saturday, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reported.

The endorsement comes after Ellison won the Democratic primary just days after Karen Monahan said Ellison had once dragged her off a bed by her feet while screaming obscenities. Ellison has denied the allegation. Monahan has said she has video footage of the 2016 encounter, but has declined to release it. Ellison says the video does not exist.

The National Organization for Women has called for Ellison to quit the race in which Ellison faces Republican Doug Wardlow.

In a speech to a packed auditorium of delegates Saturday, Ellison again denied abusing Monahan.

"Despite everything, I still care about her as a person and I don't want anybody to say anything insulting to her at all," Ellison said. "I want you know that I am committed to listening to all of the voices of every victim of abuse. I recognize and hear those voices of so many women who were silenced when they needed to be heard."

About a dozen protesters gathered outside before the meeting, hoisting signs and shouting, "Ellison beats women," to people filing inside.

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