Picture of the Day: Thomas Jefferson’s Qur’an used for Oath in 2007

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Speaker Nancy Pelosi (left) and US Congressman Keith Ellison (right) at his swearing-in ceremony with President Thomas Jefferson‘s Qur’an, in 2007

Keith Maurice Ellison (born August 4, 1963) is an American politician and lawyer serving as the 30th Attorney General of Minnesota. A member of the Democratic–Farmer–Labor Party (DFL), Ellison was the U.S. Representative for Minnesota’s 5th congressional district from 2007 to 2019. He also served as the titular Deputy Chair of the Democratic National Committee from 2017 to 2018. In Congress, Ellison was a vice-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus and a Chief Deputy Whip. He also sat on the House Committee on Financial Services. Ellison was the first Muslim to be elected to Congress[1] and the first African American representative from Minnesota.[2]

Ellison’s profile was raised when he joined the race for chair of the Democratic National Committee in November 2016, gaining support from progressive groups and U.S. senators Bernie Sanders (of Vermont) and Chuck Schumer (of New York). His candidacy prompted renewed scrutiny of past statements and his affiliation with the Nation of Islam, which drew criticism from some moderate Democrats. Ellison was defeated by former Secretary of Labor Tom Perez, who subsequently appointed Ellison Deputy Chair, a decision approved[vague] by unanimous voice vote of DNC members.[3]

On June 5, 2018, Ellison announced that he would not seek reelection to Congress, and seek the office of Minnesota Attorney General.[4][5] Ellison won the Democratic primary and defeated Republican Doug Wardlow in the general election, becoming the first African American elected to statewide office in Minnesota, as well as the first Muslim in the U.S. to win statewide office.

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