MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — With words of encouragement, U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison’s supporters took to the streets to begin his general election campaign for Minnesota attorney general.
But his team of volunteer door-knockers quickly discovered one issue that’s not going away — recent allegations of domestic abuse by a former girlfriend.
“Look, I have denied these allegations because they’re not true,” Ellison said.
Ellison met with reporters Friday morning before going to his core voters in north Minneapolis. There, he went door to door, assuring constituents that he’s not leaving the race.
“All I can say is I did not do the things she’s accusing me of doing,” Ellison said. “What I said from the very beginning, that’s what I say now.”
Ellison’s former girlfriend, Karen Monahan, told CBS News that he physically and emotionally abused her during their relationship in September 2016.
Monahan said that Ellison met her last May for coffee and asked her if she’d stop texting about their past relationship.
“I didn’t choose for you to drag me off the bed, call me a b –, tell me you hate me. I didn’t choose that,” Monahan told CBS.
The accusation quickly prompted the National Organization for Women to call on Ellison to drop out of the race. When asked on Friday if he would, he quickly said, “No.”
For now, at least, Ellison’s labor support remains behind him.
“All of our members said we don’t need to screen Keith,” said Jennifer Christensen, president of United Food and Commercial Workers local chapter 1189. “We know who he is, and he’s been there for us and we will be there for him.”
Ellison said he’s spoken with Monahan many times since they split. However, when asked if he intends to reach out to her since the allegations surfaced, Ellison said he doesn’t plan to contact Monahan.
“If I were to do that, it could be misinterpreted. And so I’m just not going to do that, but if she reaches out to me, I’ll, I mean, I’m not opposed to a conversation, I never have been,” Ellison said.
The state’s DFL central committee was scheduled to meet in Cambridge on Saturday to consider endorsements for statewide candidates.
Ellison says he will be there and expects to win the endorsement. It will take 60 percent of delegates to get the party’s support.