June 6, 2018

ALL POLITICS IS LOCAL: Keith Ellison’s Last-Minute Move Throws Minnesota Politics Into Chaos.

“It’s a shitshow,” said one Democratic strategist in the state of Ellison’s decision Tuesday.

In the governor’s race, Tim Walz, who in 2016 managed to win a rural district that Donald Trump also carried, was far ahead in fundraising and had won many straw polls. But last week, the party unexpectedly backed Erin Murphy, a more progressive woman from the Twin Cities, over Walz — setting up a contested primary between Walz and, at the last minute, current attorney general Lori Swanson, who jumped into the race.

Ellison used Swanson’s entry into the governor’s race to announce his plans to run for state attorney general, setting up a competitive primary there, as well.

Minnesota Democrats were hoping to come out of the state’s convention — part of a complicated nominating process that comes before the August primary — with the party’s biggest races settled and primaries uncontested. Instead, they got something of a frenzy, with unexpected endorsements and late entries mucking up the race for both governor and state AG — developments that are likely to suck precious money and energy out of the state’s half-dozen other important races.

It couldn’t happen to a nicer party.

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