Is Keith Ellison getting ready to step down?

Now that the investigation by the Minnesota DFL has found charges of domestic abuse by Keith Ellison to be “unsubstantiated,” it should be clear sailing for the state attorney general candidate, right? Perhaps not entirely. During a radio interview with local outlet WCCO, Ellison was once again peppered with questions about his future, particularly his job as Deputy Chair of the DNC. During the interview on Thursday, he was asked point blank if he was considering resigning from his post. While most politicians put on a brave face when dealing with such allegations, Ellison surprised many listeners when he confessed that it’s something he’s considering.

Minnesota Congressman Keith Ellison told WCCO Radio that he’s reconsidering his position with the DNC as he continues to fight to back allegations of abuse

Keith Ellison is running for Minnesota Attorney General and has been defending himself against accusations made by his ex-girlfriend, Karen Monahan, that he physically and emotionally abused her in 2016. During an interview Wednesday with Dave Lee on the Morning News, he said he is considering stepping down from his position as co-chair of the Democratic National Committee,

“You know, I’ve been evaluating that recently so we’ll see,” Ellison said. “I need to put 100% of my time, energy and resources into the race and my office, so it is something I am considering.”

Ellison seems to be playing his hand carefully. Perhaps he truly is considering stepping aside at the DNC. Or perhaps he’s even facing some internal pressure to do so. Keep in mind that even if the rather brief investigation by the DFL attorney’s law partner gave him a thumbs up, he’s still got the #MeToo stench hanging over him at a time when the Democrats are seriously trying to keep as far away from that as possible.

But Ellison isn’t describing it that way at all. He’s claiming that he’s just so busy running for office and preparing to go to work as his state’s attorney general that he really can’t devote enough time to his role at the DNC. You can listen to the tone of his voice in this brief clip from the interview and decide for yourself.

It’s also been no secret that the relationship between Ellison and DNC Chair Tom Perez hasn’t exactly been a smooth one. Ellison was given the Deputy Chair position as soon as Perez was elected in an effort to quell the rebellion among the Berniecrats who wanted one of their own at the top. Since then, Perez and Ellison have crossed swords on many issues, with Perez mostly getting his way. It really wouldn’t be all that shocking if Ellison turned out to be looking for a graceful exit.

On top of all that, the Monahan story may not be entirely over, no matter what the DFL investigation found. His ex-girlfriend gained at least some measure of confirmation of her story when Ellison was forced to admit to calling her “a bitch” during at least one argument over how much money she was spending. Now, calling a woman the “b-word” isn’t the same as physical abuse, but it also doesn’t sell very well in the midst of the Me Too moment. And why would Ellison admit to it if was just his word against hers? Is he worried that there actually is a tape of him dragging her off the bed while screaming at her?

Time will tell, but if Ellison does wind up resigning as DNC vice-chair this month, it’s a safe bet that it won’t be for a single, obvious reason. There are a lot of layers to this onion and we may never get to the center of it.