Daily Digest: Ellison blasts Alpha News

Good morning, and happy Thursday. Here’s the Digest.

1. Nothing in Ellison’s divorce records says he abused his former wife. U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison’s divorce records were unsealed by a court order Wednesday, detailing the ending of a troubled marriage and later disagreements over spousal support. The records involve Ellison’s 2012 divorce from ex-wife Kim Ellison, a Minneapolis School Board member. They lack any allegation that the Democratic attorney general candidate was abusive toward his then-wife. But in one filing, Rep. Ellison describes physical abuse toward him “throughout our marriage.” The divorce file was made public after the Star Tribune newspaper and conservative news site Alpha News went to court in September to unseal the records, arguing it was a matter of public interest, given his current campaign. Ellison’s DFL campaign for attorney general has been dogged by allegations that he emotionally and, in one case, physically abused a girlfriend, Karen Monahan, during a relationship they struck up after his divorce. He has denied mistreating Monahan. “I understand perhaps better than most that as a public official, my personal life falls under higher scrutiny than others. But to pry into the details of a sealed divorce file that the Court previously ordered closed, on the eve of an election, is shameful and outrageous,” Ellison said. He called Alpha News “a far-right propaganda outlet with a history of racism and religious bigotry.” (MPR News)

2. County won’t release Stauber emails. Despite a state opinion suggesting otherwise, St. Louis County said Wednesday it will not release the contents of campaign correspondence found in Pete Stauber’s county email account. Citing state statute, the county denied on Wednesday a new round of public records requests asking to see the Stauber email correspondence with the National Republican Congressional Committee, a large Washington, D.C.-based political action group. The county continues to argue that the correspondence is between Stauber and an individual. “Emails between an elected official and an individual are private data,” County Administrator Kevin Gray said in a news release on Wednesday. “Therefore, the requested emails will not be released without the consent of one of the parties.” The Stauber campaign and NRCC have ignored requests to release the contents of the emails. A public records request to the county by the Minneapolis Star Tribune revealed in September 15 emails between Stauber and the NRCC. Stauber, a St. Louis County commissioner and retired Duluth police officer, is running for the open seat in the 8th Congressional District against Democrat Joe Radinovich and Independence Party candidate Ray “Skip” Sandman. While not binding, opinions such as the one given by the Department of Administration on Tuesday are typically given weight in court. It is not yet known what steps the Star Tribune will take next to unseal the contents of the Stauber emails. “We are surprised by the statement from St Louis County and are considering all our options,” Star Tribune Media Company General Counsel Randy M. Lebedoff said. (Duluth News Tribune)

3. Omar calls immigration allegations “disgusting lies.”  A Minnesota Democratic candidate for Congress who is poised to become the first Somali-American elected to the U.S. House has denounced claims that she married her brother and committed immigration fraud as “disgusting lies,” and says allegations of campaign finance violations are politically motivated. Ilhan Omar, who is running in Minnesota’s liberal 5th District, continues to be dogged by conservatives who have raised questions about her past. As the election approaches, the attacks are intensifying: Last week, Minnesota Republicans in the 5th District began a digital billboard campaign and launched a website that highlights the allegations, many of which were first raised by conservative media outlets in 2016 as Omar was running for her seat in the Minnesota Legislature. Omar broadly denied the allegations in a statement to The Associated Press, but declined to provide documents or answer specific questions when pressed. “We choose not to further the narrative of those who oppose us,” Omar’s statement said, adding that she believes the claims are being made by people who want to stop a black, female Muslim from sitting in Congress. (AP)

4. Housley’s business experience, family life drive her political career. Karin Housley remembers the moment that launched her political career: She had just written a check for the 2010 taxes on her real estate business, leaving $4 in its checking account. She turned on the TV to hear cable news pundits talk about the struggling economy. She cursed at the TV, stewing as she thought about the taxes and regulations she felt her home state was heaping on small businesses. “They always want to come back to Minnesotans’ pocketbooks to take more of our hard-earned dollars to tax us and try to fix their mistakes,” Housley said. “That’s not what Minnesotans want. We want to keep as much of the money we make as we can.” Housley’s eldest daughter said it first — do something. The next day, their neighbor — longtime political donor and broadcast executive Stanley Hubbard — suggested a run for the Legislature. Now she’s running for U.S. Senate against Democrat Tina Smith. (Star Tribune)

5. Trooien loses bid to be “independent” on ballot. The Minnesota Supreme Court has dismissed a U.S. Senate candidate’s petition to change his political party affiliation on the Nov. 6 ballot. Twin Cities businessman Jerry Trooien is running for the seat once held by former Sen. Al Franken. Trooien initially listed his party as “unaffiliated” but wants to be listed as “independent.” The Supreme Court dismissed his petition Wednesday, saying Trooien knew on Aug. 30 that he could list his party as independent. But he waited four weeks before filing a request for the change. In the interim, considerable resources were spent to print millions of ballots. The Supreme Court says Trooien was obligated to move faster, and the orderly administration of elections doesn’t wait for convenience. Trooien is running against Democratic Sen. Tina Smith and GOP state Sen. Karin Housley. (AP)

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