It took the DNC three days to respond to domestic-abuse allegations against its deputy chair — and then, only after most voters in Minnesota had already cast their ballots. With just a couple of hours to go in the primary, the DNC told NPR that it was “reviewing” claims against Keith Ellison:
In its first statement on the allegations against Ellison, the DNC tells NPR:
“These allegations recently came to light and we are reviewing them. All allegations of domestic abuse are disturbing and should be taken seriously.”
The statement comes three days after the son of Karen Monahan, a former Ellison girlfriend, wrote a Facebook post saying he had seen video showing Ellison dragging his mother off her bed by her feet, yelling and cursing at her to get out of his house. Ellison was on the ballot in Minnesota on Tuesday in the Democratic primary for state attorney general.
That won’t do, one former DNC official told NPR. After the last two years of activism on sexual harassment and domestic violence, a “review” isn’t enough:
Former DNC communications director Luis Miranda told NPR: “The party has no choice but to suspend him at a minimum until they figure out what’s going on. Frankly, it would be malpractice not to. We’ve made it clear we’re going to take these accusations seriously, at a minimum. We set too high a standard not to take this seriously.”
Democrats drummed Al Franken out of office for less-serious offenses, although in that case, the emergence of the photograph made it a lot easier to throw him under the bus. They didn’t allow time for a “review,” and even Tom Perez himself demanded Franken leave office without so much as a nod to due process. Miranda’s correct in saying that a “review” is hypocritical stalling.
Ellison went on to win by a wide margin anyway:
In his victory speech, Ellison said he left a safe seat in Congress to run for attorney general because the office can accomplish a lot for many people quickly. He promised to fight wage theft, make sure people can afford medication and stand up for consumers and the environment.
Some voters said Tuesday their confidence in him was shaken by the domestic violence allegation that emerged over the weekend. The son of Karen Monahan, Ellison’s ex-girlfriend, said he saw a video of Ellison dragging his mother across a bed while screaming at her. After her son posted the comment on Facebook Saturday, Monahan said it was true and she was a victim of “narcissist abuse” from Ellison.
At the polls, some voters like Minneapolis resident Brady Swanson said the allegation gave them pause but they still planned to vote for Ellison. Swanson, 34, said he doesn’t want to change his vote based on “the court of public opinion.” Others, including University of Minnesota student Tegan Lecheler, said they previously supported Ellison but changed their mind after hearing Monahan’s story.
“I usually give people benefit of the doubt. But I cannot vote for someone who is accused of domestic violence,” Lecheler, 19, said.
Ellison will get matched up against Doug Wardlow, an attorney with Alliance Defending Freedom for the last few years after serving a term in the state legislature. Wardlow has more heft as a practicing attorney than Ellison does, although the position really doesn’t require that kind of background. It will present Minnesotans with a pretty stark choice between conservatism and hard-left progressivism, which in normal conditions would result in a win for the latter in this state. In this case, though, it may have been tough for Ellison to prevail given his radical past — and now with abuse allegations, even tougher.
Ellison had better hope that Karen Monahan never releases the video, if there is anything to release. And the DNC had better hope Amy Alexander decides to keep staying quiet if all they do is “review” Ellison’s past.