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Ellison declares victory for second term as Minnesota AG; Schultz concedes

With unofficial results showing the race within just one point, Keith Ellison has declared victory.

Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison
Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison lifts his arms to encourage the crowd to cheer as he prepared to speak at a campaign rally for re-election at Clyde Iron Works in Duluth on Thursday, Oct. 6, 2022.
Dan Williamson / Duluth News Tribune
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ST. PAUL — Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison has declared victory in his bid for re-election despite unofficial results showing a neck-and-neck race.

After jumping out to an early 31-point lead as the first sets of votes were counted in Minnesota on Tuesday night, Nov. 8, Republican challenger Jim Schultz quickly tightened the race. By 10:15, roughly two hours after the polls closed, Ellison’s lead had been cut to one-third of the margin, leading by fewer than 11 points.

As tabulation continued throughout the night and into Wednesday morning, Ellison had sustained a lead of less than 1 point, capturing 50.4% of the nearly 2.5 million votes cast as of noon on Wednesday, compared to Schultz’s 49.5%. Nearly 2,400 ballots were cast for write-in candidates, accounting for 0.1% of the vote.

It’s unclear whether any mail-in ballots have yet to be counted.

In a statement released Wednesday morning, Ellison said he’s feeling grateful and thankful to have won re-election after what he described as a tough first term.

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“We've been through tough times in the last four years: a global pandemic, George Floyd killed on our Minnesota streets, the Dobbs decision that stripped women of their rights, and so much more,” he said. “... I am very grateful for this win. I'm thankful to my campaign staff, the staff of the Minnesota Attorney General's Office, Senators Amy Klobuchar and Tina Smith and the elected officials who endorsed me, all county attorneys who supported my candidacy, faith leaders who supported us and called out the tactics of fear and division, and all the volunteers who made this win possible.”

"Above all, I thank the voters of Minnesota for the great honor of serving you as your Attorney General,” Ellison continued. “I promise to continue helping you afford your lives and live with dignity, safety, and respect every day."

On Wednesday afternoon, Schultz conceded, accepting the unofficial outcome, but noting that his campaign should be proud.

"Although the race for attorney general has not been formally called, the results are now clear, and I plan to call Attorney General Ellison later today to congratulate him on his reelection," Schultz said. "I am very proud of the race we ran. We received the highest percentage of the vote for a Republican candidate for constitutional office in nearly 30 years. ... We didn’t quite get there, but we have a lot to be proud of."

Though the results of Minnesota’s election will remain unofficial until certified by a state canvassing board on Nov. 29, an Ellison win would extend the Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party’s longstanding control of the state’s attorney general’s office. A Republican has not held the office since 1971, when Douglas Head, who snapped another 12-year DFL sweep, served as the state’s 25th attorney general.

The certified winner of the Nov. 8 election will serve a four-year term as attorney general, a position which in fiscal year 2021 was compensated $120,785.60.

A South Dakota native, Hunter joined Forum Communications Company as a reporter for the Mitchell (S.D.) Republic in June 2021. After over a year in Mitchell, he moved to Milwaukee, where he now works as a digital reporter for Forum News Service, focusing on regional news that impacts the Dakotas, Minnesota and Wisconsin.
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