Rep. Keith Ellison, D-Minn., is trailing Republican Doug Wardlow in the race for Minnesota attorney general amid mounting criticism over domestic abuse allegations, a new poll reveals.
A Star Tribune/MPR News Minnesota Poll shows Ellison behind Wardlow by 7 percentage points, receiving 36 percent of support from the voters. Wardlow is supported by 43 percent of the poll participants, the Star Tribune reported.
The GOP-affiliated voters appear to strongly support Wardlow’s candidacy, while Democrats remain undecided about Ellison.
The latest poll is a spectacular turnaround for the Republican, who merely a month ago was trailing by 5 points against one of the most prominent Democrats in the party’s establishment, the deputy chair of the Democratic National Committee (DNC).
But Ellison squandered his lead since Karen Monahan, an ex-girlfriend, came forward with her story in August detailing the physical and emotional abuse she allegedly suffered at the hands of Ellison.
In one particular incident, Ellison allegedly dragged her from a bed and shouted “F--- you, b---“ and “I hate you.” Monahan also released a 2017 medical document in which she identified the congressman as the cause of her “emotional and physical abuse.”
The poll’s participants are divided on the issue of Monahan’s allegations, with nearly half of the respondents saying they weren’t sure whether they believe the allegations against Ellison, the Tribune reported.
A third of poll participants said they believe the accuser, an increase compared with last month, while a fifth said they don’t believe Monahan.
Just 13 percent of Democrats believe Monahan’s allegations, compared with about half of Republicans and a third of Independents.
Ellison has denied all the allegations and allowed the party to review Monahan’s allegations. The state Democratic Party hired Democratic Party-affiliated lawyer Susan Ellingstad whose draft report cleared him of wrongdoing.
“An allegation standing alone is not necessarily sufficient to conclude that conduct occurred, particularly where the accusing party declines to produce supporting evidence that she herself asserts exists,” Ellingstad said in the report.
Ellison recently told the New York Times that he wanted to clear his name but didn’t want to attack his ex-girlfriend, though he told the lawyer that his ex-girlfriend fabricated the abuse allegations because she’s jealous of his current girlfriend.
“The #MeToo movement is a justice movement, and I don’t ever want to be counted among those who in some way tried to dissuade victims from coming forward,” he said. “But I think the #MeToo movement has room for due process. Every social justice movement must.”