Keith Ellison at the CD5 DFL Convention, 4/21/12 | Photo: Aaron Klemz
by ladyslipper
Jul 2, 2012, 8:00 AM

Run Keith Run

I admit it, I’m in the bag for Keith Ellison.

I’ve lived in three different Minnesota Congressional districts and in two of them, considered Keith my adopted Congressman. He never would have challenged Barack Obama for the Presidential nomination in 2012. But I have my eye on him for 2016.


He gets results. When Martin Sabo announced his retirement in March 2006 – timing that made candidates scramble unless they had the inside track – Ellison assembled his team on a dime and secured the endorsement.

He’s got the experience. We have Michele Bachmann to thank for eliminating the “He’s too inexperienced” argument. If Bachmann, who was also elected in 2006, can run for President – why can’t Keith?

He’s gracious. It’s not easy to be steadfast in your beliefs and gracious to your opponents, but Keith pulls it off. When Republican Virgil Goode warned about the dangers of Keith swearing his oath of duty on the Koran, Ellison said he’d invite the Virginia U.S. Representative to coffee. I remember reading about an event he spoke at, when he introduced a former colleague in the audience, Steve Sviggum. Can you imagine, say, Gretchen Hoffman introducing Barb Goodwin?

He’s Teflon. During the 2006 race Keith fended off two tiers of attacks – from Republicans and from fellow Democrats vying for the endorsement. They flung traffic tickets, scurrilous rumors, religious fearmongering. Ellison didn’t slink away like Gary Hart or John Edwards. If anything, he grew stronger.

He’s everything we wished Barack Obama was. Granted, Obama is looking better in the afterglow of the SCOTUS Affordable Care Act ruling. But from day one, Ellison has been unapologetically liberal and a vocal advocate for single-payer healthcare.

He unites. Ellison’s message of “Everybody Counts, Everybody Matters” has been inclusive rather than divisive. That a person in the first percentile of the Ninety-Nine Percent has as much to offer as those at the top of the heap.

He takes nothing for granted. If anyone has a safe seat in Minnesota’s Congressional delegation, it’s Keith Ellison. You wouldn’t think so to hear him campaign. The linchpin of his campaign strategy is voter turnout – not just in comfortable suburbs but in neighborhoods where you or I might fear to tread.

His opponents still try to portray him as an angry black man, and Ellison did have those moments in college. But today he’s an angry black man no more than Norm Coleman is a long-haired hippie type.

So if you’re one of the voters who hollers “Go, Keith, go!” at your TV as Ellison graciously eviscerates a Fox interviewer, let him know. Send a tweet to @keithellison with the hashtag #KeithIn2016. I doubt he’d ever leave his beloved Fifth District. But he’d appreciate the sentiment.

Follow @mn_ladyslipper on Twitter.

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