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Keith Ellison wins Minnesota AG primary amid domestic abuse allegations

Ellison, who flatly denies the accusations, beat four other Democrats in Tuesday's primary.

Keith Ellison, shown here at the US Congress in February 2018, won a primary election Tuesday for Minnesota's Attorney General, as he fought back against domestic violence allegations. Chip Somodevilla/Getty
Keith Ellison, shown here at the US Congress in February 2018, won a primary election Tuesday for Minnesota's Attorney General, as he fought back against domestic violence allegations. Chip Somodevilla/Getty

Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN), who is running for Minnesota attorney general, won his primary Tuesday night, just days after his former girlfriend’s son alleged in a Facebook post that Ellison had abused his mother.

Ellison, who is also the current vice chair of the Democratic National Committee, ousted four other Democrats Tuesday: former Ramsey County Attorney Tom Foley; state Rep. Debra Hilstrom; former state Supreme Court clerk Matt Pelikan; and former state Commissioner of Commerce Mike Rothman.

At the time of publication, Ellison had won more than 54 percent of the vote, leading Hilstrom, his closest contender, by nearly 95,000 votes.

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Ellison’s ex-girlfriend, Karen Monahan, released a statement Sunday after her son’s Facebook post was picked up by the media, saying she was a survivor of “narcissist abuse” and suffering from complex PTSD as a result.

On Facebook, her son, Austin Aslim Monahan, wrote, “I found over 100 text and twitters messages and video almost 2 min long that showed Keith Ellison dragging my mama off the bed by her feet, screaming and calling her a ‘fucking bitch’ and telling her to get the fuck out of his house.”

Karen Monahan told CNN she had misplaced the video allegedly showing Ellison dragging her off a bed. She told ThinkProgress on Monday that it was never her intention to release the video.

“I didn’t want to mention the video or the texts,” she said. “I’m not here to prove to anyone. I’m just here to share my story.”

ThinkProgress spoke with a friend of Monahan’s Tuesday who said he has known her for a decade and corroborated her story. CNN reported that it spoke to three of Monahan’s friends who likewise backed up her allegations.

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Ellison has flatly denied the claims, saying in a statement, “Karen and I were in a long-term relationship which ended in 2016, and I still care deeply for her well-being. This video does not exist because I never behaved in this way, and any characterization otherwise is false.”

Ellison was the first Muslim member of Congress. He has risen to national prominence as an outspoken progressive and was heavily favored in the attorney general’s race throughout the primary.

As Vox recently noted, Minnesota has elected a Republican attorney general just once since 1955.