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Minnesota Attorney General election, 2018

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Minnesota Attorney General election, 2018

← 2014 November 6, 2018 (2018-11-06) 2022 →
Keith Ellison portrait (cropped).jpg
Portrait of Douglas Wardlow cropped headshot.jpg
Nominee Keith Ellison Doug Wardlow Noah Johnson
Party DFL Republican Grassroots
Popular vote 1,249,407 1,150,459 145,748
Percentage 48.96% 45.08% 5.71%

Results by county

Ellison:      40–50%      50–60%      60–70%

Wardlow:      40–50%      50–60%      60–70%

Attorney General before election

Lori Swanson

Elected Attorney General

Keith Ellison

The 2018 Minnesota Attorney General election was held on November 6, 2018, to elect the attorney general of the U.S. state of Minnesota. A primary election was held on August 14, 2018, in which Doug Wardlow was nominated as the Republican candidate and Keith Ellison was nominated as the Democratic–Farmer–Labor (DFL) candidate. Ellison won the election.


DFL incumbent Lori Swanson was first elected attorney general in 2006. Swanson succeeded two-term DFL incumbent Mike Hatch, who opted to run for governor in 2006. Swanson was re-elected in 2010 and 2014. On January 28, 2018, Swanson announced that she would seek re-election. The announcement came after months of speculation that she would run for governor in 2018.[1] On June 4, 2018, after failing to receive her own party's endorsement for attorney general, Swanson ended her campaign for attorney general and opted to run for governor instead.[2]


Republican Party of Minnesota

Wardlow was endorsed by the Republicans on June 2, 2018, at their state convention.[9]


  • Harry Niska, attorney; candidate for the Ramsey City Council in 2010[10]
    • Withdrew on November 5, 2017, saying campaigning required too much personal life sacrifice.[11]

Minnesota Democratic–Farmer–Labor Party

It was reported in late January 2018 that Ellison was exploring the possibility of seeking election to be attorney general. According to several people he had spoken with recently, Ellison was not likely to run but found it enticing.[24] Following Swanson's withdrawal from the election on June 4, 2018, it was reported that Ellison was likely to enter the race, which he did the next day.[25]

On June 2, 2018, the DFL endorsed Pelikan at their state convention. Swanson received 52 percent over Pelikan after the first round of balloting, but not the required 60 percent. Swanson then withdrew her nomination for the party's endorsement, but did not indicate if she would run in the primary election.[9]

On June 4, 2018, Swanson announced she would no longer seek re-election and would instead run for Governor.[2] The day after her announcement, Ellison, Foley, Hatch, Hilstrom, and Rothman entered the race.[12] Hatch said he did not think Pelikan had sufficient courtroom experience and would withdraw if someone he thought was qualified entered the race, which he did the next day.[26]


Minor parties and independents

On October 15, 2018, Grassroots-Legalize Cannabis Party candidate Noah Johnson announced his endorsement of DFL nominee Keith Ellison. In explaining his endorsement, Johnson cited Ellison's recent statement of support for marijuana legalization. Johnson also stated that he wished to avoid drawing votes away from Ellison and thereby increasing Republican nominee Doug Wardlow's chances of victory. Johnson's name remained on the ballot.[34]


Keith Ellison (DFL)[35]


National Figures

State Senators

State Representatives

County Commissioners

  • Patrick Boyle, St. Louis
  • Frank Jewell, St. Louis
  • Debbie Goettell, Hennepin
  • Linda Higgins, Hennepin
  • Mary Jo McGuire, Ramsey


  • Melvin Carter, St. Paul
  • Jacob Frey, Minneapolis
  • Ted Kozlowski, Stillwater
  • Dan Lund, Newport
  • Shep Harris, Golden Valley
  • Jim Hovland, Edina
  • Myron Bailey, Cottage Grove

City Councilors

  • Steve Fletcher, Minneapolis
  • Phillipe Cunningham, Minneapolis
  • Jeremiah Ellison, Minneapolis
  • Abdi Warsame, Minneapolis
  • Lisa Goodman, Minneapolis
  • Andrea Jenkins, Minneapolis
  • Alondra Cano, Minneapolis
  • Lisa Bender, Minneapolis
  • Jeremy Schroeder, Minneapolis
  • Linea Palmisano, Minneapolis
  • Marquita Butler, Brooklyn Center
  • Amy Bredmoen, St. Paul
  • Anne Mavity, St. Louis Park
  • Tim Brausen, St. Louis Park
  • Maria Regan Gonzales, Richfield
  • Edwin Garcia, Richfield
  • Simon Trautman, Richfield
  • Joanie Clausen, Golden Valley
  • Steve Schmidgall, Golden Valley
  • Jason Gad, Hopkins


  • Steve Marchese, St. Paul school board member
  • Rachel Bohman, Rochester township board member
Doug Wardlow (R)
U.S. Representatives
Declined to endorse

Primary election


Results by county:  Ellison   60-70%   50–60%   40–50%   30–40%   20–30%    Hilstrom   30–40%
Results by county:
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Party of Minnesota Doug Wardlow 135,971 46.26
Sharon Anderson 94,245 32.06
Bob Lessard 63,722 21.68
Subtotal 293,938 100.00
Minnesota Democratic–Farmer–Labor Party Keith Ellison 281,142 49.81
Debra Hilstrom 108,048 19.14
Tom Foley 70,786 12.54
Matt Pelikan 59,876 10.61
Mike Rothman 44,522 7.89
Subtotal 564,374 100.00
Total 858,312 100.00
Source: Minnesota Secretary of State[47]

General election

On October 27, 2018, Politico reported that the State of Minnesota had not elected a Republican attorney general in more than 40 years, but added that Ellison was "putting that streak to the test." According to Politico, Ellison had been "rocked by accusations of domestic abuse" and had fallen behind Wardlow in a recent poll; Politico added that the race "revolves around Ellison and what voters make of the misconduct allegations he’s facing."[48]



Poll source Date(s)
of error
Ellison (DFL)
Wardlow (R)
Other Undecided
SurveyUSA October 29–31, 2018 1,000 ±5.3% 44% 40% 4% 12%
Mason-Dixon October 15–17, 2018 800 ±3.5% 36% 43% 5% 16%
Mason-Dixon September 10–12, 2018 800 ±3.5% 41% 36% 5% 18%
SurveyUSA September 6–8, 2018 574 ±4.9% 41% 41% 4% 14%
County Results for Noah Johnson.
County Results for Noah Johnson      3%      4%      5%      6%      7%      8%


Candidate Party Votes %
Keith Ellison Minnesota Democratic–Farmer–Labor Party 1,249,407 48.96
Doug Wardlow Republican Party of Minnesota 1,150,459 45.08
Noah Johnson Grassroots-Legalize Cannabis Party 145,748 5.71
N/A Write-ins 6,158 0.24
Total 2,551,772 100.00
Source: Minnesota Secretary of State[49]

See also


  1. ^ a b Coolican, J. Patrick (January 28, 2018). "Attorney General Lori Swanson running for re-election, not governor". Star Tribune. Retrieved January 28, 2018.
  2. ^ a b c Coolican, J. Patrick; Golden, Erin (June 5, 2018). "Attorney General Lori Swanson shakes up DFL field in governor's race". Star Tribune. Retrieved June 5, 2018.
  3. ^ Featherly, Kevin (August 9, 2018). "Quirky candidate Anderson's running for AG—again". Minnesota Lawyer. BridgeTower Media. Retrieved August 9, 2018.
  4. ^ Beager, Laurel (June 12, 2018). "'The Old Trapper' seeks state's top legal post". International Falls Journal. Big Fish Media. Retrieved June 17, 2018.
  5. ^ Featherly, Kevin (July 27, 2018). "Bob Lessard runs for attorney general to protect Legacy funds". Minnesota Lawyer. BridgeTower Media. Retrieved July 29, 2018.
  6. ^ a b Salisbury, Bill (August 9, 2018). "Former Rep. Wardlow faces longtime DFLer in Minnesota attorney general primary". Pioneer Press. Retrieved August 9, 2018.
  7. ^ Bierschbach, Briana (January 10, 2018). "The campaign to become Minnesota's next attorney general is crowded, intense — and very much under the radar". MinnPost. Retrieved January 17, 2018.
  8. ^ Featherly, Kevin (July 20, 2018). "As attorney general, Doug Wardlow would insist on 'rule of law'". Minnesota Lawyer. BridgeTower Media. Retrieved July 26, 2018.
  9. ^ a b Van Berkel, Jessie; Rao, Maya (June 2, 2018). "DFL endorses Pelikan for AG after Swanson drops bid for party nod". Star Tribune. Retrieved June 2, 2018.
  10. ^ Lopez, Ricardo (April 17, 2017). "Republican attorney Harry Niska joins race for AG". Star Tribune. Retrieved January 17, 2018.
  11. ^ Bakst, Brian (November 6, 2017). "Republican lawyer Niska leaves Minn. AG race". Minnesota Public Radio. Retrieved January 17, 2018.
  12. ^ a b c Van Berkel, Jessie (June 6, 2018). "DFL candidates flood the field on final filing day". Star Tribune. Retrieved June 7, 2018.
  13. ^ Featherly, Kevin (July 13, 2018). "Keith Ellison thinks it's 'the right moment'". Minnesota Lawyer. BridgeTower Media. Retrieved July 19, 2018.
  14. ^ Featherly, Kevin (July 5, 2018). "Tom Foley: Attorney general job isn't just anti-Trump megaphone". Minnesota Lawyer. BridgeTower Media. Retrieved July 19, 2018.
  15. ^ Callaghan, Peter (July 10, 2018). "Tom Foley stresses his legal and administrative skills as differentiating factor in AG race". MinnPost. Retrieved July 19, 2018.
  16. ^ Featherly, Kevin (June 28, 2018). "Debra Hilstrom: 'A work horse, not a show horse'". Minnesota Lawyer. BridgeTower Media. Retrieved June 28, 2018.
  17. ^ Callaghan, Peter (July 13, 2018). "In run for attorney general, Hilstrom touts experience as both legislator and prosecutor". MinnPost. Retrieved July 19, 2018.
  18. ^ a b Pugmire, Tim (January 29, 2018). "Swanson's plan thins DFL field for attorney general". Minnesota Public Radio. Retrieved January 29, 2018.
  19. ^ Coolican, J. Patrick (September 18, 2017). "Attorney, activist from Northfield seeks DFL running for attorney general". Star Tribune. Retrieved January 17, 2018.
  20. ^ Featherly, Kevin (June 13, 2018). "Matt Pelikan thinks he has a solid shot". Minnesota Lawyer. BridgeTower Media. Retrieved July 19, 2018.
  21. ^ Callaghan, Peter (July 11, 2018). "Instead of just being depressed by Trump's victory, Matt Pelikan decided to run for Minnesota attorney general". MinnPost. Retrieved July 19, 2018.
  22. ^ a b Featherly, Kevin (June 21, 2018). "DFLer Mike Rothman says he's ready from day one". Minnesota Lawyer. BridgeTower Media. Retrieved June 28, 2018.
  23. ^ Callaghan, Peter (July 6, 2018). "Is running the Department of Commerce great training for being Minnesota attorney general? That's the case Mike Rothman is making". MinnPost. Retrieved July 19, 2018.
  24. ^ Dovere, Edward-Isaac (January 26, 2018). "Ellison exploring Minnesota AG run". Politico. Retrieved January 28, 2018.
  25. ^ Dovere, Edward-Isaac (June 4, 2018). "DNC Deputy Chair Ellison expected to run for Minnesota AG". Politico. Retrieved June 4, 2018.
  26. ^ a b Van Berkel, Jessie (June 6, 2018). "Mike Hatch says he will withdraw from Minnesota attorney general race". Star Tribune. Retrieved June 6, 2018.
  27. ^ Van Berkel, Jessie (December 14, 2017). "St. Paul City Attorney Sam Clark announces campaign for Minnesota attorney general". Star Tribune. Retrieved January 17, 2018.
  28. ^ Clark, Sam (January 31, 2018). "Announcement". Facebook. Retrieved January 31, 2018.
  29. ^ Bakst, Brian (April 4, 2017). "DFLer Lesch sets up campaign to run for Minnesota AG". Minnesota Public Radio. Retrieved January 17, 2018.
  30. ^ Bakst, Brian (September 15, 2017). "DFL state Rep. Lesch ends bid for attorney general". Minnesota Public Radio. Retrieved January 17, 2018.
  31. ^ Golden, Erin (November 16, 2016). "Former state Rep. Ryan Winkler announces 2018 run for Minnesota attorney general". Star Tribune. Retrieved January 17, 2018.
  32. ^ Featherly, Kevin (June 14, 2018). "Bar Buzz: Pro-pot AG candidate's got high hopes". Minnesota Lawyer. BridgeTower Media. Retrieved June 17, 2018.
  33. ^ Featherly, Kevin (August 3, 2018). "Weed backer hopes to smoke competition in AG race". Minnesota Lawyer. BridgeTower Media. Retrieved August 9, 2018.
  34. ^ Van Berkel, Jessie (October 15, 2018). "Legalize Cannabis candidate endorses Keith Ellison for attorney general". Star Tribune. Retrieved October 19, 2018.
  35. ^
  36. ^ Bernie Sanders. "It was great to support @EllisonCampaign in Minnesota, @tammybaldwin and @IronStache in Wisconsin, and @JohnFetterman in Pennsylvania this weekend and to see thousands and thousands of people across the country ready to work for progressive change". Twitter.
  37. ^ Tom Emmer. "Congratulations to @MNJeffJohnson and @doug_wardlow on their primary wins. Look forward to working with the entire @mngop ticket to #TurnMNRed this November". Twitter.
  38. ^ Doug Wardlow. "I'm proud to have the endorsement of Congressman Jason Lewis! "Doug Wardlow understands better than most the Attorney General is there to enforce the laws of the state of Minnesota- and not there to create them." #VoteWardlow #MNAG". Twitter.
  39. ^ Doug Wardlow. ""We've had far too much activism in that office in the past and @EllisonCampaign, along with the help of his supporters like Angie Craig, would surely be more of the same. That's why I'm glad to support Doug." #VoteWardlow #MNAG". Twitter.
  40. ^ Doug Wardlow. ""We trust that as Attorney General, Doug Wardlow will have our back. He will stand with law enforcement and work with us to keep Minnesota families safe." - Lt. Bob Kroll #VoteWardlow". Twitter.
  41. ^ Doug Wardlow. "I'm proud to have earned the endorsement of the Minnesota State Cattlemen's Association PAC! As Attorney General, I will fight to improve the economic climate for our agriculture industry. #VoteWardlow #MNAG". Twitter.
  42. ^ Strawser, Bryan (October 18, 2018). "Minnesota Gun Owners PAC endorses Doug Wardlow for Attorney General". Retrieved October 23, 2018.
  43. ^ Bauman, Christine (October 26, 2018). "Doug Wardlow Endorsed By Leading Small Business Group". Alpha News MN.
  44. ^ "Editorial Board endorsement: GOP's Wardlow for attorney general". Star Tribune. August 3, 2018.
  45. ^ "Our View / Endorsement: Remove politics from AG's office with Wardlow". Duluth News Tribune. October 10, 2018.
  46. ^ "Two flawed candidates, no endorsement in state AG's race". Star Tribune. November 1, 2018. Retrieved November 5, 2018.
  47. ^ "Statewide Results for Attorney General". Minnesota Secretary of State. Retrieved August 19, 2018.
  48. ^ Choi, Matthew (October 27, 2018). "Keith Ellison reeling after abuse allegations". Politico. Retrieved October 29, 2018.
  49. ^ "Statewide Results for Attorney General". Minnesota Secretary of State. Retrieved November 18, 2018.

External links

Official Minnesota Attorney General candidate websites
This page was last edited on 19 November 2018, at 01:55
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