- The Washington Times - Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Rep. Keith Ellison declared publicly Wednesday something that he had shared in secret weeks ago: he will leave Congress if he wins the race to be the next chairman of the Democratic National Committee.

Bowing to mounting pressure, Mr. Ellison said he would serve in a full-time capacity if he wins the February vote to be the next DNC chairman.

“Serving my neighbors in Congress and fighting for them has been the best job I’ve ever had,” Ellison said in an email to the Star Tribune. “Whether it was for immigration reform, worker’s rights, gender equity, or social justice, we stood side by side so that every person in American … is treated with respect and given every opportunity to succeed. Until the DNC Chair election, I plan to continue doing just that.”

The Washington Times reported Tuesday that Mr. Ellison, who won re-election last month, reluctantly told AFL-CIO officials at a Nov. 22 meeting that he would vacate his seat in Congress if push came to shove.

But Mr. Ellison’s office did not respond to repeated inquiries into the nature of the promise he made, and the 53-year-old refused to say he would be willing to leave Congress until Wednesday.

Following the disappointing November election, many Democrats have said the next chair must be full-time, as it prepares to deal with President-elect Donald Trump and the GOP-controlled House and Senate.

Mr. Ellison is running against New Hampshire Democratic Chair Raymond Buckley and South Carolina Democratic Chair Jaime Harrison.

Secretary of Labor Tom Perez also is considering a bid.

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