On the Matter of Keith Ellison

A potential for a unifying Democratic MN Primary got quashed by allegations of domestic violence against AG Candidate and current Congressman Keith Ellison. I’m trying to get my head around this and maybe we can walk this through together.

First of all, Keith Ellison’s name will be on the Democratic November ballot for Attorney General. That will be extremely hard to change. The State Central Committee can withhold their full endorsement, but they cannot change the ballot. Withholding endorsement would probably just make the situation worse because I don’t think we know enough to make a complete judgment on the matter.

Here is where I believe we stand right now. Keith Ellison can be a volatile person. He gets passionate and he can get angry. I think we can say that he has that type of personality. It makes for passionate stump speeches but it can also be a problem for private matters.

Having said that, I see no large pattern of an ongoing problem for Ellison. He has had a few relationships. His ex-wife supports him….

Kim Ellison, who is Keith Ellison’s ex-wife, came to the congressman’s defense Sunday in an statement that was emailed to reporters.  “We may be divorced, but we are still a family,” she wrote. “I want members of our community to know that the behavior described does not match the character of the Keith I know.”

That is a plus on Ellison’s side of the ledger. He was married to Kim for about 25 years. And, as far as we know, there were few problems out of the ordinary. After they divorced, he had this relationship with Karen Monahan. There is another fairly obscure court record about an incident in 2006 in which a woman named Amy Alexander filed a complaint against Ellison, however, after the judge heard the details, he granted a restraining order for Ellison AGAINST her.

Karen Monahan has given an extensive interview about her relationship with Ellison and does state this about the incident

Monahan said she never reported the incident to police and said being dragged off the bed was the only time Ellison got physical with her during their three-year relationship.

Again, there is no minimizing what allegedly happened. Her description is traumatic. But she does say it was the only time.

Ellison denies it ever happened, which is also troubling, because something must have. Monahan is very upset and traumatized about this and she would not come forward and absorb this intense scrutiny if the incident was some minor domestic squabble. Something clearly was wrong here and I would feel more comfortable if Ellison would own up to whatever it was rather than just completely deny anything happened at all.

But that is where we are. The usual, he said, she said. And the cloud continues to hang over an election that would, otherwise, probably be a pretty routine statewide win.

The Republicans are going to try to draw all the DFL candidates into that cloud, unfair as it is. While Republicans run with Donald Trump, with a legendary life of abuse of women, the State GOP will try to make Keith Ellison’s situation a general DFL problem. That should not be the case and the Party will need to find a degree of separation from it.

And this is also not to say that Keith Ellison cannot go forward as a good Attorney General candidate. We have a lot of flawed individuals that run for office and some of them still win. It will be up to Keith to find a path to explain this in a manner that is acceptable to voters. If he can, the Party will most assuredly support him for Attorney General. On the issues, he is as good as you can get.

Now, I must also spotlight the Al Franken situation in regards to this. Al has had no domestic abuse allegations. Al has had a wonderful married life. Al has not had an affair. Al has been a champion on women’s issues all of his career. And I would like so very much to have him involved in the Kavanaugh hearings, because he would get to the heart of the manner and defend Roe as no one else could.

But he is not in the Senate. He resigned to satisfy a chorus of objections to a sophomoric picture and allegations of unwanted touching. He did the right thing. He did so, not so much because it was the best thing for him, but because it was the best thing for his Party and for the cause of #MeToo. I have not condoned Al’s behavior. I decided he needed to resign because his effectiveness as a Senator was being called into question. However, I am no longer sure that was the right thing to do. I feel now that we compromised ourselves under the pressure of hypocritical GOP criticism. Republicans take no such actions for their own.

We have Donald Trump and his questionable years of behavior. We have Jim Jordan, accused of knowing about sexual abuse of his wrestlers at Ohio State. Jason Lewis was elected despite a history of derogatory rhetoric about women.  Rep. Jackie Speier indicates that some sitting Congressmen are still holding office despite payments to quiet sexual harassment victims. All of this seems like a middle finger salute to the #MeToo movement and the force out of Sen. Al Franken.

And, right now, the Ellison situation seems like it is being treated in a far different manner than the case of Al Franken. We do not handle these situations well. We make a lot of mistakes and snap judgments. We have to do better for all concerned. Women have to be allowed to bring forward those things that are a mental trauma to them. Men need fair judgment and a rational discerning of the facts. Yes, I do think that the women coming forward should be given the benefit of the doubt, but we can’t turn these things into kangaroo courts either.

At the moment, I guess Keith Ellison should be given an opportunity to make his case to the voters. Let them decide if his explanations are credible. Let November be the final say on the matter. Right now, too much conjecture can become a bad thing.

That is my take. You will all have to decide for yourself.




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