WASHINGTON – State Sen. Bobby Joe Champion on Monday suspended his campaign to succeed U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison in Congress, pleading with fellow DFLers "to come together and not do damage to the great purpose our party represents."
Ellison's surprise bid to become Minnesota attorney general has prompted a scramble of DFLers to compete for his Fifth Congressional District seat — including former House Speaker Margaret Anderson Kelliher, state Rep. Ilhan Omar and state Sen. Patricia Torres Ray, all of Minneapolis — in an exceptionally busy political year for the state.
Minnesota has a governor's race, two U.S. Senate races, and four other highly competitive congressional elections in November that are expected to attract substantial investment from Democrats and Republicans nationally.
"I fear that an ugly primary fight could leave an unpleasant residue that will get in the way of the victory we need in November," said Champion, who represents Minneapolis' North Side, in a statement.
He added: "My plea to my fellow DFLers is that we do not savage each other in this primary. ... I do not want to risk being an element of division when we need to come together."
The party is holding a special endorsing convention Sunday for Ellison's seat, and the primary will be in August.