Throwing In The Towel: Keith Ellison To Resign As Deputy Chairman Of Cash-Strapped DNC

Posted: Jun 05, 2018 3:15 PM
Throwing In The Towel: Keith Ellison To Resign As Deputy Chairman Of Cash-Strapped DNC

Well, for Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN), he’s throwing in the towel…at the Democratic National Committee. The Minnesota Democrat and deputy chairman of the DNC has decided to run for Attorney General of the North Star State (via Politico):

Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) is expected to make a last-minute entry into the race for Minnesota attorney general on Tuesday, according to two people familiar with his plans.

“I will make a decision tomorrow because it’s the filling deadline,” Ellison said, not disputing that he is likely to enter the election.

Ellison has been in Congress since 2007, and served as deputy chair of the Democratic National Committee since last year, as a leader of the Bernie Sanders wing of the party. But he’s been chafing for months at both roles: being in the minority in Congress and being subsumed to DNC Chairman Tom Perez, who beat him for the top job.

Ellison had looked at jumping into the AG race earlier in the year but passed on it after incumbent Lori Swanson skipped her own expected run for governor and seemed set to run for re-election. But then came a weekend of drama at the Minnesota Democrat-Farmer-Laborer convention: Swanson didn’t get a majority of support for reelection and jumped into the governor’s race on Monday.

All eyes quickly turned to Ellison. Beyond the reasons making him want to leave Washington are the reasons drawing him to the job: attorneys general have taken on major significance within the Democratic resistance to the Trump administration, and Ellison is eager to be a leader in that fight.

This is probably not a shock. Reportedly Ellison and DNC chair Tom Perez have been at odds over how to turn the struggling and cash-trapped committee around. Perez and Ellison represent the establishment and ascendant progressive wings of the Democratic Party, which are still not on good speaking terms, generally. Both sides blame each other for Hillary Clinton's stunning and epic loss to Donald J. Trump. The establishment fault the supporters of Bernie Sanders, Hillary’s primary challenger, for failing to unite behind Hillary, while Sander-ites say Hillary was the wrong candidate, she was too cozy with Wall Street, inauthentic, and not left wing enough. As a result, they feel her loss justifies their position that the Democratic Party has to go hard left to win. Yet, the crux of their division rests with the DNC, whose dirty laundry was aired days before the Democratic National Convention. Emails obtained by WikiLeaks showed staffers openly pondering ways to torpedo Sanders’ campaign. It gave off the impression to the Sanders camp that the primary was rigged. Those feelings have yet to heal.

Ellison and Perez ran against each other for the DNC chairmanship post. Perez eventually won, but Ellison was made deputy chairman. Prior to his decision to leave, Politico wrote, “the relationship between Perez and Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.), the former rival whom Perez named deputy chair in an attempt to ease tribal infighting, remains chilly, with periodic explosive fights over party strategy and appointments.” The publication added Ellison said, “Functioning unity is something we’ve got to build back over time.” We’ll, obviously he decided that it was time to move on because this was never going to happen, stuck in neutral at a committee that has yet to resolve issues concerning how it nominates candidates (via CNN):

Democrats will keep fighting over "superdelegates" -- a leading symbol of the divisions left over from the 2016 presidential race -- for at least five more months.

Democratic National Committee members voted Saturday to accept a recommendation to "revise the role and reduce the perceived influence" of superdelegates.

What that actually means, though, is a question the party is unlikely to resolve until this summer.

Bernie Sanders-aligned DNC members cast Saturday's vote as progress, and said they ultimately want to effectively eliminate all superdelegates.

"We knew it wasn't going to get resolved here," said Larry Cohen, the chairman of Sanders' political organization Our Revolution.

Ellison is a fighter, and becoming a state AG is probably the best move for someone of that mindset. He can get things done, which is obviously not happening at the DNC.

As Politico noted, with disgraced NY AG Eric Schneiderman, who was forced to resign over allegations he abused women, out of the picture, the quarterback slot for the team of Democratic state attorneys general leading the anti-Trump fight is open. 

Perez admitted that he underestimated the task at hand concerning righting the ship. The DNC is millions in debt. They had to take out a $2 million loan to keep the lights on. They tried to bury the committee’s dire financial situation during Trump’s first State of the Union. On top of that, they’re doling out almost $2 millionfor Hillary’s data and email lists that she used for the 2016 campaign; Sanders has refused to turn over his information to the DNC. That expenditure has also been criticized, with some Democrats wanting Hillary to return the cash

The final chapter of the Perez-Ellison tenure at the DNC will be marked with the two men stating quite clearly for weeks that the DNC should steer clear of Democratic primaries, which ended with Perez recently endorsing Andrew Cuomo for New York Governor over progressive primary challenger Cynthia Nixon. Ellison had given Nixon a rosy reception for her remarks at the Progressive Change Campaign Committee in D.C last April. 

Perez has said he was speaking for himself and not the DNC proper—c’mon man. 

So, we’ll be seeing more of Ellison soon—doing what he can to stop Trump, despite a booming economy, increased wages, and tremendous job creation.