Washington, DC – Keith Ellison, the five-term Congressman from Minnesota, released the following statement announcing his candidacy for Chair of the Democratic National Committee. He also released a list of endorsements that includes Democratic leaders in Congress, progressives, state party chairs, local and state elected officials, DNC members, and labor leaders.
“Democrats win when we harness the power of everyday people and fight for the issues they care about. It is not enough for Democrats to ask for voters' support every two years. We must be with them through every lost paycheck, every tuition hike, and every time they are the victim of a hate crime. When voters know what Democrats stand for, we can improve the lives of all Americans, no matter their race, religion or sexual orientation.
“To do that, we must begin the rebuilding process now.
“This election cycle, we did not motivate enough people to the ballot box. We must champion the challenges of working families and give voters a reason to show up at the polls in 2018 and beyond. We must build a bench not just for federal candidates, but for state and local candidates across the nation.
“We also need a robust party organization in every state that prioritizes voter relationships over everything else. We must invest in and empower our state and local parties by creating effective field operations, an enhanced and advanced voter file, and a culture of collaboration between candidates at every level. Let's put the voters first.
“I am proud to announce my candidacy for Chair of the Democratic National Committee, and if given the opportunity to serve, I will work tirelessly to make the Democratic Party an organization that brings us together and advances an agenda that improves people’s lives.”
“My friend Keith Ellison is a terrific leader and a strong progressive who knows how to get things done. Now is the time for new thinking and a fresh start at the DNC. Now is the time for Keith.” – Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (NV)
“At a time when Republicans will control the White House, the U. S. House, the U.S. Senate and two-thirds of all statehouses, it is time for a fundamental rethinking about what the Democratic Party stands for and how it functions. It is time for the Democratic Party to make it clear that we will become a grassroots party which stands with the working families of this country and will fight for a government that works for all of us, not just the 1 percent. That's the kind of change Keith Ellison represents and why he must become the next chair of the Democratic Party.” – Senator Bernie Sanders (VT)
“I have worked with Keith Ellison since my days as county attorney. Keith has worked well with both Democrats and Republicans in our Minnesota delegation, and he knows how to bring people together to get things done.” – Senator Amy Klobuchar (MN)
“Democrats need to make it crystal clear that we stand with working families, not special interests. That's exactly why I support my friend Keith Ellison to lead the DNC at this pivotal time.” - Senator Chris Murphy (CT)
“My support for Keith Ellison to serve as Chair of the Democratic National Committee is unequivocal. I've worked side-by-side with Keith as Co-Chairs of the Congressional Progressive Caucus for six years, and his passion and commitment to welcoming all voices define him as a leader. Keith is one of us; he understands what the DNC has to do to represent all Americans, and what we have to do to win.” – Congressman Raúl Grijalva (AZ-03)
"Keith has the energy, the vision and the values to lead the Democratic party forward. His vision for voter mobilization is exactly what the party needs. If we want to grow the party and grow the base of voters for 2018 and beyond, Keith is the person to do it.” – Congressman Mark Pocan (WI-02)
“The Democratic Party needs some shaking up. It needs something new. It needs a DNC Chair that represents a younger, more strategic, more progressive, more diverse Democratic Party. I support Rep. Keith Ellison for Democratic National Committee chair. Will you join me? The entire Democratic Party will be proud with Keith as DNC Chair because he will lead with backbone and help us win again.” – Congresswoman Bonnie Watson Coleman (NJ-12)
Having worked on elections and social movements with Keith Ellison for more than two decades, I can say I have never seen him campaign only for himself. More a community organization than a politician, Keith has used every campaign to protect every voter's rights, expand our party's base, include those left behind and elevate new leaders. That is exactly what the Democratic Party needs right now.” – R.T. Rybak (Vice Chair of the DNC)
"I am proud to endorse Congressman Keith Ellison to be the next Chair of the Democratic National Committee. After the DNC put forward the most progressive platform in our party's history, it is essential we have a leader like Rep. Ellison who has championed and fought for these values and policies. I am confident Rep. Ellison will continue to move our party forward and he will fight for the progressive values we share as Democrats.” – Martha Laning (Chair of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin)
“As State Party leaders, we are aware of the challenges building our Parties to win up and down the ballot while simultaneously trying to build long-lasting political infrastructure. In order for us to do that we need a leader at the DNC who understands and values the role of State Parties. Keith Ellison is that leader.” – Ken Martin (Chair of the Minnesota DFL)
“Democrats ability to win across the country relies on a strong message and organizational strength on the ground. I proudly endorse Congressman Keith Ellison for the vision he has to help state and local parties on the grassroots level. He is known as someone who can work the diverse coalition and opinions that make up our party and I am confident in his energy and ability to lead.” – Tim Vandeveer (Chair of the Democratic Party of Hawaii)
“Five days ago, our party was jolted to its core by the election of Donald Trump. The best first step we can take in that process is to make Congressman Keith Ellison the Chair of the Democratic National Committee. Last week, I encouraged you all to follow Flo Kennedy's words - 'don't agonize, organize!' - and I can think of no one better positioned, or more committed, to putting that admonition into action than Congressman Keith Ellison. That's why I'm supporting Keith for DNC Chair and I hope you will too.” – Attorney General Eric Schneiderman (NY)
"Congressman Keith Ellison is the progressive leader we need to run the Democratic National Committee. Throughout his career, Congressman Ellison has been dedicated to building the Democratic bench by encouraging and supporting candidates at all levels of government and I know as DNC Chair he will bring the same dedication and passion. Congressman Ellison understands we need to build an inclusive party where everyone feels listened to and all are welcome and he is the right person to fulfill that vision." – New York City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito
Congressman Keith Ellison is the right person to lead the Democratic Party at this time. He has proven himself a strong advocate and champion of the values that we as Democrats value and hold dear. His commitment to grassroots organizing and building a strong progressive infrastructure in every community in this country is exactly the focus our Party needs. Keith Ellison will make sure that the voices of all working Americans in all communities are heard and able to play a leading role in shaping our Party and our country's future.” – Chris Shelton (President of the Communication Workers of America)
“When Republicans shut down the Federal Government in 2013, one of the first calls I got was from Rep. Keith Ellison. He knew that the shutdown was hurting millions of workers and their families. Keith understood that the best way to fight was to organize a broad coalition of people across the country. As working people in states like California, Ohio, and Virginia demanded that their voices be heard, we took the fight to the steps of the Capitol. By standing together, we ended the shutdown and reopened the government for the American people. Keith’s leadership united us, focused us on our common goal, and accomplished the task at hand." – David Cox (President of American Federation of Government Employees)
Senator Chuck Schumer (NY)
Congressman G.K. Butterfield (NC-01)
Congressman Joe Crowley (NY-14)
Governor Mark Dayton (Minnesota)
Lieutenant Governor Tina Smith (Minnesota)
Daraka Larimore-Hall (Secretary of the CA Democratic Party)
David Bowen (WI State Representative/Vice Chair of the Wisconsin Democratic Party)
Jane Kleeb (Chair of the Democratic Party of Nebraska)
Marge Hoffa (Vice Chair of the Minnesota DFL)
Sly James (Mayor of Kansas City, MO)
Troy Jackson (DNC Member/ME State Senator)
Adam Ebbin (VA State Senator)
Pat Cotham (Mecklenburg County Commissioner/Former DNC Member - NC)
Jared Rice (New Rochelle Deputy Mayor)
Jim Zogby (DNC Member/Founder and President of Arab American Institute)
Alex Lawson (Executive Director of Social Security Works)
Alex Soros (Philanthropist)
Yasmine Taeb (DNC Member - VA)
Ron Harris (DNC Member – MN)
Elly Zaragoza (DNC Member - MN)
AJ Durrani (DNC Member - TX)
Jeri Shepherd (DNC Member – CO)
Jessica Chambers (DNC Member – WY)
Lupita Maurer (DNC Member – OR)
Rich Cassidy (Former DNC Member - VT)
Keith Ellison was born and raised in Detroit, MI and moved to Minneapolis to attend law school in 1990. In 2006, he became the first Muslim elected to Congress and in 2010, became Co-Chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus. He sits on the House Financial Services Committee and is a member of the Congressional Black Caucus.
Minnesota's 5th Congressional District has one of the highest rates of voter turnouts in the nation. In 2015, Ellison unveiled the Voters First Campaign, which aimed to increase voter turnout through grassroots organizing, campaign coordination, and low-donor fundraising.