Ellison, back on campaign trail, again denies abuse allegation

Keith Ellison takes questions from reporters.
Keith Ellison takes questions from reporters while canvassing in north Minneapolis Friday Aug. 17.
Tim Pugmire | MPR News

Updated: 3:09 p.m. | Posted: 11:24 a.m.

Keith Ellison was back on the campaign trail in north Minneapolis Friday morning, where campaign volunteers gathered to canvass the neighborhood on his behalf.

He said his campaign is going ahead.

"We're talking to neighbors. We're talking to friends," Ellison said. "We're engaging people trying to get folks to support this campaign for Minnesota attorney general."

Ellison will face Republican candidate Doug Wardlow in the November general election, but for now, he can't get past lingering questions about his former girlfriend, Karen Monahan, and her recent allegations that he yelled profanities at her and dragged her off a bed.

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"All I can say is that I did not do the things she is accusing me of," he said. "That's what I've said from the very beginning. That's what I say now."

Ellison also denied Monahan's claim that there is video evidence of the alleged altercation. He says there couldn't be a video of something that didn't happen.

Keith Ellison (right) was back on the campaign trail in north Minneapolis
Keith Ellison (right) joins volunteers on the campaign trail in north Minneapolis to canvass the neighborhood.
Tim Pugmire | MPR News

"I will say that I'm not the one who claimed to have evidence. I think the person who said they had something, it's on them to produce it."

Monahan contends it's not up to her to try to prove what happened.

She told MPR News earlier this week that she would not release the video, in part because it's embarrassing, but also because she doesn't believe the burden should be on survivors to prove they have been victimized.

"Whether it be abuse toward women, abuse from police officers, abuse from other people in power," Monahan said. "To have to be the one, like I'm doing right now, to show and prove their stories."

The allegations are a cloud over Ellison at a key point in his campaign for attorney general. He won nearly 50 percent of the vote Tuesday in a five-way DFL primary without the party endorsement.

DFL officials could grant that endorsement when they meet as a State Central Committee Saturday in Cambridge.

Ellison said he believes he will receive the party's backing, and he's working hard to make it happen.

Ellison says nobody from the DFL has asked him to step aside. But the National Organization for Women did.

Still, Ellison has supporters standing by him.

Jennifer Christensen, president of the United Food and Commercial Workers Local 1189, was on hand in north Minneapolis to show her support.

"We know who he is," Christensen said. "He has been there for us, and we will be there for him."