Obama Doesn't List Ellison Among Endorsements in Minnesota Races

Former president endorses Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (Updated)

Then-Sen. Barack Obama greets Rep. Keith Ellison before the start of a House Judiciary Committee hearing / Getty Images
October 1, 2018

Former President Barack Obama didn't list embattled Minnesota Attorney General candidate Keith Ellison (D.) among his endorsements in election races on Monday.

Obama released his second round of midterm endorsements, and he offered them to Sen. Tina Smith (D., Minn.) in Minnesota, as well as Tim Walz and Peggy Flanagan in their respective bids for governor and lieutenant governor. He also gave endorsements in several U.S. and State House races there.

Obama also listed Democratic socialist congressional candidate Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in his new round of New York endorsements after not naming her in August.

Ellison, the vice chairman of the Democratic National Committee, has denied allegations of domestic abuse by his ex-girlfriend Karen Monahan. Monahan said Democrats are protecting Ellison and engaging in a "smear" campaign to discredit her.

Monahan has claimed there is a video of Ellison dragging her off their bed and screaming at her, although she has refused to show it to anyone. She also released a medical record from 2017 showing she told a doctor she was previously in an abusive relationship with Ellison in 2016.

The Star Tribune reported Minnesota Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party chairman Ken Martin said the investigation into the allegation against Ellison would be completed soon.

Ellison said at a recent debate that he couldn't be sure what other people "might cook up" when asked if other accusations could come forward.

"Look, in this political environment, I don’t know what somebody might cook up," Ellison said. "But I could tell you that there is absolutely nobody that I am aware of who has any sort of—who is threatening or suggesting or who has ever made a prior accusation about me."

He and his ex-wife Kim Ellison divorced in 2012, and she has stood behind him and said there was never any abuse during their relationship.

Republican National Committee spokesman Michael Ahrens released a statement saying Obama was going to doom Democrats by tying them to his "failed" policies.

"President Obama oversaw slowest economic recovery in modern history and it cost Democrats more than 1,000 seats. By tying these candidates to his failed economic policies, he’s helping ensure they suffer the same fate," Ahrens said.

UPDATE: 3:34 P.M.: This article was updated with a statement from the RNC.