Ellison Breaks Ground as Muslim, Black

November 8, 2006

Author: Aron Kahn

Source: Pioneer Press


Keith Ellison was a minor figure as a two-term state representative from Minneapolis. Now, across the nation and the world, he might become Minnesota's best-known voice.

The 43-year-old fiery stump speaker, an easy winner Tuesday in the 5th Congressional District, becomes Minnesota's first black congressman and America's first Muslim on Capitol Hill. As a result, he dons the mantle of ambassador to the world's second largest religion.

With 91 percent of the vote counted, the Democratic candidate and champion of liberal issues garnered 56 percent of the vote. Republican Alan Fine and Independence Party candidate Tammy Lee were tied at 21 percent, and seat-of-the-pants campaigner Jay Pond, a Green Party candidate who rode his bicycle to campaign stops, was polling 2 percent.

Political scientists said Ellison would almost immediately become a well-known name on several continents.