Representative Keith Ellison wants to take his talents back to Minnesota, where he officially filed paperwork to run for state attorney general on Tuesday.
If he becomes Minnesota’s top prosecutor, Ellison pledged to be the “People’s Lawyer” (any relation to the People’s Elbow?) and to aggressively go after exploitative companies.
“I will confront fraud and abuse, from student loans to drug prices, and will defend Minnesotans from the harmful effects of corporate monopolies,” Ellison said in a tweet announcing his run. “I will ensure that workers receive their full wages and stand up for the right to collectively bargain.”
Ellison currently serves as deputy chair of the Democratic National Committee, serving under former Labor Secretary Tom Perez, and is the vice chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus. Last month, Ellison joined the majority of his Democratic colleagues to vote for the Protect and Serve Act of 2018, which would create a (wholly unnecessary) federal offense for those who attempt to cause “serious bodily injury” to a police officer—a move that now makes more sense coming from someone gearing up to run for an office that works closely with law enforcement. But Ellison has also been an outspoken critic of policing and surveillance tactics, including the use of Amazon’s facial recognition program, Rekognition, by local police departments.
It’s unclear why Ellison has decided to pursue local office after representing the Minneapolis area in Congress since 2007. It could be a lateral move before gearing up for a future U.S. Senate, or even presidential, run. Or it could just be motivated by an impulse to get the hell out of Washington—which would be hard to argue with.