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Keith Ellison, a practicing African-American Muslim, was endorsed on Saturday by Minnesota's Democratic Party to represent the 5th Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives.  If Ellison goes on to win the November election, he will be the first Muslim American ever to serve in the U.S. Congress.  He will also be the first African-American to represent the state of Minnesota in Washington.

Analysis below the fold:

Encompassing urban Minneapolis and some outlying suburbs, the 5th district is one of the most liberal and safest Democratic seats in the U.S. House; it voted for Kerry over Bush by nearly a 3 to 1 ratio.  The eventual nominee of the Democratic party (in Minnesota, the Democratic Farm Labor party or DFL) is a shoe-in to win the election in November.  

Ellison must still win the Democratic primary in September,  and several less compelling challengers have stated their intentions to run against him.  Having earned the endorsement of the delegates at the party's district convention, however, Ellison will enjoy the support of the party's machinery, and he is highly favored to emerge victorious in the primary.  Ellison would replace the retiring Democratic congressman Martin Sabo, who has held the seat for the last 28 years.

On being the first Muslim American elected to the U.S. Congress, Ellison stated

It's good for people to see a reasonable, moderate face of Islam.

A native of Detroit, Ellison currently represents the predominantly African-American north side of the city of Minneapolis in the Minnesota state house.  He was elected to that post in 2002.

Democrats running for statewide offices, including the eventual nominee for an open seat in the U.S. Senate and the Democratic challenger to our current Republican governor, will benefit from Ellison's candidacy.  With Ellison on the ticket in November, African-American turnout is expected to rise.

Originally posted to The Mack on Tue May 09, 2006 at 11:43 AM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Thanks for this diary (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    WisVoter, The Mack, Mia Dolan

    It's nice to see it.

    It's especially nice to see how gracious Ellison is, particularly compared to Erlandson (who is apparently having a hissy fit that the nomination wasn't simply given to him on a silver platter).

    •  Erlandson (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      The Mack, Bouwerie Boy

      Sabo tried to hand the seat to Erlandson, his former chief of staff.  Some have speculated that the timing of Sabo's retirement announcement was to benefit Erlandson.  I have always thought Erlandson was a big tool, and I was hoping that with a safe seat the delegates would find someone who was not straight, white and male.   The delagates nailed it.  Ellison will be a great member of congress.    

  •  Very interesting (0+ / 0-)

    If his truly is a "moderate face of Islam, this appears to be a very positive development indeed.  More diversity, understanding and integration will only make us stronger.

    Thanks for reporting on it.

  •  That's great. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    The Mack

    I would love to know how many declared non-Judeo/Christian elected congresspeople are there?  State or Federal.

  •  Why do you ask that? Is Ellison gay? (0+ / 0-)

    From his state seat website, linked above:

    ...Keith and his spouse Kim have been raising their four children on the north side of Minneapolis for the past 15 years...

    Granted, Kim is an ambiguous-gender kind of name, but most likely Kim is a woman, or they probably would have referred to Kim as his "partner."

    Is there another reason you think this might be good for gays?

  •  Very interesting (0+ / 0-)

    I'll keep an eye out for more news about him.  He sounds like a great guy, and it'd be good to get a little more diversity in the "old white guy club".

    "I worry a great deal about the future of democracy in America"
    - President of St. Lawrence University Daniel Sullivan at Commencement 2004

    by Team Slacker on Tue May 09, 2006 at 12:13:56 PM PDT

  •  Thanks for the diary (0+ / 0-)

    I mentioned this astounding and proud moment for us Minnesotans, who sent Paul Wellstone to the US Senate, on a post here Sunday night, and it seemed to be a real buzzkill.  
    Considering our 6th District republicans have endorsed their very own Mrs Betty Bowers, State Senator Michelle Bachmann, it's really refreshing to have a pro-gay muslim to upstage her.

  •  I'm proud of my district (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    The Mack

    Ellison will be a very fine Rep. There was a large field to chose from, many with very good qualities, and I kind of hate to say it, but I think lots of folks want to send different faces to represent this part of the state. We (MN62) also endorsed a highly qualified woman to run for state house -  and she happens to be a hispanic immigrant. It's time that our representation not only be progressive, committed, and competent, but also look like and relate to the folks they represent.

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