Keith Ellison Makes It Official: He Wants to Chair Democratic National Committee

Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) 
Ilya S. Savenok/Getty Images for The New Yorker
Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.)
Ilya S. Savenok/Getty Images for The New Yorker

Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) made his intention to chair the Democratic National Committee clear on Monday by simultaneously releasing the endorsements of 40 elected officials, state party chairmen and labor leaders.


“Democrats win when we harness the power of everyday people and fight for the issues they care about,” Ellison said in a statement. “It is not enough for Democrats to ask for voters’ support every two years. We must be with them through every lost paycheck, every tuition hike, and every time they are the victim of a hate crime. When voters know what Democrats stand for, we can improve the lives of all Americans.”

The Washington Post reports that Ellison’s name came up as a likely candidate immediately following Hillary Clinton’s loss last week to President-elect Donald Trump. He was a favorite for the position among liberal advocacy groups and lawmakers, including Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.); and both outgoing Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and his expected successor, Sen. Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.), have expressed support for Ellison.

Ellison said in his statement that Democrats “did not motivate enough people to the ballot box” last Tuesday. He added that Democrats need to “give voters a reason to show up at the polls in 2018 and beyond.”

According to the Post, the next chairman will be chosen by DNC members early next year, and among those seeking the job are former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean, former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley, South Carolina Democratic Party Chairman Jaime Harrison and DNC National Finance Chairman Henry Muñoz III.  

Ellison is a Detroit native who worked as a criminal-defense attorney before being elected to Congress in 2006. He represents a district that includes Minneapolis and its surrounding suburbs, and he was the first Muslim to be elected to Congress, a fact that those supporting him say will send a strong message about the Democratic Party’s commitment to diversity during a Trump presidency.

Read more at the Washington Post.