October 29, 2018 06:51 PM
The Minnesota attorney general's campaign is likely to be one of the most tightly-contested races in the state in 2018. It's also one of the nastiest.
"Congressman Ellison has a long history of supporting cop killers and other criminals," state Rep. Nick Zerwas (R-Elk River) said at a State Capitol news conference on Monday. Zerwas was echoing repeated claims made by Republican attorney general candidate Doug Wardlow during a debate on 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS last week.
"When he was in the state House in 2004, he stated that we should be smart on crime, not necessarily tough on crime," said State Sen. Andrew Mathews, (R) Milaca.
Ellison has long been accused of supporting various people involved in attacks on police officers. At his own news conference Monday, Ellison denied he doesn't support police officers.
"I value and honor all members of law enforcement and am grateful for the work they do every single day," he said.
Ellison had actually called his news conference to call more attention to Wardlow's statement caught on tape that he would immediately fire 42 Democratic attorneys in the Office of the Attorney General.
"My first legislative priority in office will be to enact civil service reform to protect attorneys working in the attorney general's office from being fired simply for who they are and what they believe," Ellison said. He was joined by Ramsey County Attorney John Choi and two other former public attorneys.
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Ellison was also asked about a story in the Pioneer Press newspaper over the weekend in which a 39-year-old gay man claims Wardlow bullied him while they were both at Eagan High School. Wardlow denies the allegations, but Ellison says he's not surprised because Wardlow in recent years has represented groups opposing gay rights.
"The thing that concerns me is we start with this recent stuff and then it looks like, you know, it's not new for him at least," Ellison said.
Republican supporters of Wardlow say the allegations are a last-minute smear.
"These allegations have never come to the surface before," said Rep. Zerwas. "Doug Wardlow's been elected before. He's served before. The allegations never surfaced then."
Wardlow was elected to the Minnesota House in 2010 and lost a re-election bid in 2012. He was campaigning in greater Minnesota Monday and unavailable for comment.
Updated: October 29, 2018 06:51 PM
Created: October 29, 2018 05:21 PM
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