Good morning, and welcome to Monday and the start of another work week. Here’s the Digest:

1. Ellison wins DFL endorsement. Members of the Minnesota DFL Party central committee endorsed U.S. Rep.  Keith Ellison for attorney general on Saturday amid allegations of domestic abuse. In a vote Saturday conducted using paper ballots, 82 percent of delegates supported endorsing Ellison for the November general election. After the vote, state DFL Chairman Ken Martin issued a statement saying the party “stands with (Ellison) in his campaign and we look forward to working together to keep this seat.” Ellison was in attendance at the gathering but left after the vote. Last weekend allegations surfaced that Ellison yelled profanities at his former girlfriend, Karen Monahan, and dragged her off a bed. Ellison has denied those claims. In a speech to the packed auditorium of delegates Saturday, Ellison again denied abusing Monahan. “Despite everything, I still care about her as a person and I don’t want anybody to say anything insulting to her at all,” Ellison said. “I want you know that I am committed to listening to all of the voices of every victim of abuse. I recognize and hear those voices of so many women who were silenced when they needed to be heard.” (MPR News)

2. History will be made no matter which ticket wins in governor’s race. It’s a virtual certainty that Minnesota will make history this year by electing the state’s first American Indian woman as lieutenant governor. Republican Jeff Johnson’s running mate Donna Bergstrom is a member of the Red Lake Band, while White Earth tribal member Peggy Flanagan is running with Democrat Tim Walz. And they are part of a trend. Native American women are showing up on ballots across the country this year in unprecedented numbers, according to Mark Trahant. “This year has just been extraordinary,” said Trahant, editor of the national native news website, Indian Country Today, and a member of the Shoshone-Bannock tribes of Idaho. (MPR News)

3. ‘Pink wave’ hitting Minnesota. Voters in last Tuesday’s primary election put Minnesota’s first all-female U.S. Senate contest on the Nov. 6 ballot and increased the odds that the state will for the first time send a woman of color to the U.S. House, two signs of a national “pink wave” of women candidates running this year. The trend is shaping up as historic. Across the country, record numbers of women are nominated for U.S. House and Senate seats. Women now hold 23 seats in the U.S. Senate and 84 in the House of Representatives. In Minnesota, many women are running for the Legislature after a recent dip in the number of female state lawmakers. (Star Tribune)

4. Girl whose struggle led to legal medical marijuana dies. Amelia Weaver, the Hibbing girl whose fight with a rare form of epilepsy led her parents to the center of the campaign for medical marijuana in Minnesota, died Thursday. She was 12. “Warrior Amelia, after a lifelong battle with Scn2a, passed away today,” parents Josh and Angie Weaver posted on their “Fighting for Amelia” Facebook page. “We did not take one single moment with our Amelia for granted. It was the greatest privilege of our (lives) to be Amelia’s parents. There are no seizures in Heaven sweet girl.” After suffering from seizures in early childhood, Amelia was diagnosed at age 4 with a condition caused by a gene mutation that produces a particularly devastating form of epilepsy. Learning of success stories in other states for epileptic children treated with medical marijuana, the Weavers embraced the campaign to legalize the drug for medical purposes in Minnesota. They found a willing ally in then-state Rep. Carly Melin, DFL-Hibbing, who authored a legalization bill in the 2014 session. (Forum News Service)

5. Trump administration moves away from oil conservation. Conserving oil is no longer an economic imperative for the U.S., the Trump administration declares in a major new policy statement that threatens to undermine decades of government campaigns for gas-thrifty cars and other conservation programs. The position was outlined in a memo released last month in support of the administration’s proposal to relax fuel mileage standards. The government released the memo online this month without fanfare. Growth of natural gas and other alternatives to petroleum has reduced the need for imported oil, which “in turn affects the need of the nation to conserve energy,” the Energy Department said. It also cites the now decade-old fracking revolution that has unlocked U.S. shale oil reserves, giving “the United States more flexibility than in the past to use our oil resources with less concern With the memo, the administration is formally challenging old justifications for conservation — even congressionally prescribed ones, as with the mileage standards. The memo made no mention of climate change. Transportation is the single largest source of climate-changing emissions. (AP)

Good morning. Seems like it took a while for Friday to get here this week. Here’s the Digest.

1. Party chair: Ellison situation ‘very fluid.’ Two days after Keith Ellison won the DFL primary for Minnesota attorney general, it remained unclear whether his party will endorse him as the nominee and whether his place on the ballot is secure. Minnesota DFL Chair Ken Martin added to the uncertainty of Ellison’s status when he described Ellison’s situation as “very fluid.” Last weekend, Ellison was accused of forcibly removing his then-girlfriend from a bed in his home while shouting at her. The woman, Karen Monahan, says it happened the day after they had a verbal confrontation, and that she captured the incident on video. Ellison insists there is no such video because he never acted in that way. Martin said the DFL takes the allegations “very seriously” and is looking into them. He said there are questions Ellison needs to answer. “My hope is that if Keith Ellison continues to be our nominee, that this is put behind him and that these are addressed head on, so we can focus our attention on keeping this office,” Martin said. Minnesota DFL delegates are scheduled to meet Saturday in Cambridge to decide whether to endorse Ellison and Tim Walz, who both won their contests in Tuesday’s primary without prior party backing. Two union groups backed Ellison Thursday, but NOW, the National Organization for Women, called on him to withdraw from the race. (MPR News)

2. State economy hums along. Employers around Minnesota added an estimated 11,200 jobs last month, and the state’s unemployment rate fell slightly to an 18-year low of 3 percent. That’s the lowest level since June 2000 — and nearly a full percentage point below the national jobless rate. Job gains in Minnesota last month were greatest in education, health services, government, trade, transportation, utilities and manufacturing. There were slight declines in service, logging and mining jobs. Employment rose not just in the Twin Cities metro area but also in Duluth, Rochester, St. Cloud and Mankato. (MPR News)

3. Audit faults IT department. Minnesota IT Services has failed to provide adequate oversight of computer projects that could boost efficiency at individual agencies and across the state enterprise, according to an audit released Thursday. The report from the Office of the Legislative Auditor examined the IT agency’s handling of the state Information and Telecommunications Account from July 2014 to Feb. 2018. The Legislature created the account in 2006 to fund future computer projects. A total of 209 IT projects worth more than $79 million were approved for the account between 2007 and 2017, the report found. As of March 2018, state agencies had either not started or completed 95 of those projects, leaving a balance of $23 million in the Information and Telecommunications Account. “Minnesota IT Services’ internal controls over the Information and Telecommunications Account were generally not adequate,” the report stated. “For the projects and legislative report we tested, Minnesota IT Services (often referred to as MNIT) generally did not comply with significant legal requirements, including Minnesota statutes and its own policies and procedures.”(Pioneer Press)

4. St. Paul backs legal fund for immigrants. The St. Paul City Council has voted to support one of Melvin Carter’s most recent initiatives — a legal defense fund for immigrants. According to the council resolution approved Wednesday, “the federal government is using increasingly aggressive and hostile tactics to arrest, detain and deport immigrants who live and work within the city of St. Paul, creating an environment of fear that is detrimental to the social and economic health of the city.” The mayor unveiled the concept during his Aug. 9 budget address. Carter said that in light of federal efforts to detain and deport growing numbers of immigrants, the city should set aside $100,000 to support community-based organizations that work with immigrants. (Pioneer Press)

5. Trump picks Dohman for U.S. marshal. President Donald Trump on Thursday nominated Minnesota’s public safety commissioner to be the next U.S. marshal for the district, a position that has been open nearly two years. The Star Tribune first reported in May that the FBI completed a background check of Mona Dohman and that she was the only candidate to have reached what is considered the last step before a formal nomination by the White House. St. Cloud Police Chief William Blair Anderson was also once considered for the job. Dohman has led the Department of Public Safety since 2011, when she was appointed by Gov. Mark Dayton. She previously spent 27 years with the Maple Grove Police Department, including as chief from 2001 to 2011. Dohman would be just the second woman to lead the agency’s Minnesota office, which has been led on an acting basis by Daniel Elbers, a former chief deputy marshal, since the retirement of Sharon Lubinski in December 2016. (Star Tribune)

Minnesota DFL Chair Ken Martin took questions about Keith Ellison and his status as the party’s nominee for attorney general during a news conference Thursday. Tim Pugmire | MPR News

  1. Listen MPR News’ Brian Bakst with more on the allegations against Ellison

    Aug. 16, 2018

Two days after Keith Ellison won the DFL primary for Minnesota attorney general, it remained unclear whether his party will endorse him as the nominee and whether his place on the ballot is secure.

Minnesota DFL Chair Ken Martin added to the uncertainty of Ellison’s status during an interview on WCCO Radio Thursday, when he described Ellison’s situation as “very fluid.”

Last weekend, Ellison was accused of forcibly removing his then-girlfriend from a bed in his home while shouting at her. The woman, Karen Monahan, says it happened the day after they had a verbal confrontation. Her son was the first to air the allegations on Facebook, saying he had seen a video of the alleged incident.

Ellison insists there is no such video because he never acted in that way. Monahan says she won’t release the footage for a variety of reasons but has put out text messages that she says were intimidating.

Ellison says he still cares for the woman despite the end to their relationship and has taken steps to help her even as recently as this spring.

Martin said the DFL takes the allegations “very seriously” and is looking into them. He said there are questions Ellison needs to answer.

“My hope is that if Keith Ellison continues to be our nominee, that this is put behind him and that these are addressed head on, so we can focus our attention on keeping this office,” Martin said.

An Ellison campaign spokesman declined comment.

Later in the day, Martin appeared at a news conference with the party’s gubernatorial nominee Tim Walz. He said the party currently “supports” Ellison as the nominee, but he added that it is a “developing story.”

“We don’t know where it’s going,” he said.

Minnesota DFL delegates are scheduled to meet Saturday in Cambridge to decide whether to endorse Ellison and Walz, who both won their contests in Tuesday’s primary without prior party backing.

Walz said he hasn’t spoken to Ellison since the allegations surfaced. He would not say whether he would campaign with Ellison.

“We’re not campaigning with anyone else right now, other than ourselves,” Walz said.

Retiring Gov. Mark Dayton, who was also at the news conference, said he continues to support Ellison. Dayton said he has greater concerns about the Republican candidate for attorney general, Doug Wardlow.

“I have no reservations about saying that Keith Ellison would be the vastly superior candidate,” Dayton said.

State law provides limited options for removing a nominee from the ballot, unless the candidate dies, becomes incapacitated or is deemed ineligible.

But that hasn’t stopped some from calling on Ellison to step aside.

Toni Van Pelt, president of the National Organization for Women (NOW), issued a statement saying Ellison should drop out of the race.

“Keith Ellison must withdraw from the race and not put Minnesotans through another cycle of political scandal,” Van Pelt said. “They’ve been through enough.”

But two union groups backed Ellison. The AFSCME Council 5 Executive Board endorsed him as did the Minnesota AFL-CIO General Board.

“Throughout his entire career, Keith Ellison has fiercely defended workers’ freedom to organize and join together in union to negotiate a fair return on their work,” said Minnesota AFL-CIO President Bill McCarthy in a statement. “Working Minnesotans can count on Keith to carry that commitment to the attorney general’s office where he will fight for workers to be treated with dignity and respect.”