Rep. Keith Ellison, the deputy chair of the Democratic National Committee, filed papers on Tuesday to run for Minnesota attorney general.
"Today I am announcing my candidacy to be the People’s Lawyer, and to protect and defend all Minnesotans as your next Attorney General," the Minnesota Democrat tweeted Tuesday and vowed to "confront fraud and abuse, from student loans to drug prices" and to "defend Minnesotans from the harmful effects of corporate monopolies."
Ellison’s decision comes a day after Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson, a member of the Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party, made a last-minute bid for Minnesota governor.
“I have come to know Keith as someone who is passionate about finding every possible way to help the greatest number of Americans achieve a better quality of life,” DNC Chair Tom Perez said in a statement obtained by ABC Tuesday. “And I have witnessed that passion in every single decision he has made, including whether to continue the fight in Congress or to run and serve as Minnesota's chief law enforcement official.”
Ellison ran for DNC chair in 2017 – a move that raised his national profile as a representative of the left wing of the Democratic Party, but he lost the race to former Obama Labor Secretary Tom Perez.
The Minnesota Democrat's loss was seen as a blow to the anti-establishment wing of the party, including supporters of former Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders.
Ellison, who is the first Muslim to be elected to the U.S. Congress, is a former civil rights attorney who has been vehemently critical of President Donald Trump's policies and was especially outspoken in his opposition to the Trump administration's ban on travelers from majority Muslim countries. He has represented Minnesota's 5th Congressional District since 2007.
Ilhan Omar, a Somali-American refugee and a Muslim who holds a House seat in the Minnesota legislature, filed for Ellison’s seat Tuesday hours ahead of the deadline.