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Trailing in AG race, Ellison tries to refocus on issues

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DFL attorney general candidate Keith Ellison discussed prescription drug prices an polls during a campaign news conference. Tim Pugmire|MPR News

With a new poll showing him 7 percentage points down in the race for Minnesota attorney general, Keith Ellison was back at work Tuesday, pledging to fight for lower prescription drug prices.

Ellison held a news conference in St. Paul to highlight the high cost of insulin and the impact those prices have on families. State Rep. Erin Murphy, DFL-St. Paul, a former candidate for governor, was among those lending support.

Ellison also responded to the MPR News/Star Tribune Minnesota Poll that shows Republican Doug Wardlow leading the race 43 percent to 36 percent, with 16 percent undecided.

Ellison, who had a 5 percentage point lead a month ago, said the latest results tell him that he has to work a lot harder.

“Let me tell you, the only poll that matters is the one on Nov. 6,” Ellison said.

The new poll shows again that Ellison has a large name recognition advantage over Wardlow. But 35 percent of poll respondents had an unfavorable opinion of him. Just 23 percent had a favorable opinion. An ex-girlfriend’s allegation of mistreatment remains a problem, despite Ellison’s repeated denials.

Still, Ellison said there is plenty of time in the final two weeks to talk to thousands of voters.

“We’re trying to refocus this entire campaign on what it should be focused on, which is the issues,” he said.

Wardlow was unavailable for an interview.

His campaign issued a statement describing the poll as a "remarkable turnaround" since last month.

“The more closely Minnesotans look at Keith Ellison, the more disturbed they are by what they see,” said Wardlow campaign consultant Kory Wood.