Congressman Keith Ellison, D-Minn. (F, 26%), a man known for his ties to noted anti-Semites and radical Islamic groups, came dangerously close to winning the election for DNC chairman Saturday afternoon.
In the second round of voting, Ellison received 200 (46%) of the 435 votes cast, narrowly losing to Tom Perez, secretary of labor under former President Obama. Ellison appeared to be the favorite to win the chairmanship. A survey published in The Hill this week showed that Ellison held a 2 to 1 edge over Perez. Following Perez' win, Ellison was appointed deputy chair of the DNC.
Ellison, who has paid homage to Malcolm X by previously writing under the pen name Keith “X” Ellison, almost beat out seven other candidates to win the party chairmanship.
Prominent Democratic leaders, such as philanthropist Haim Saban and Harvard Law Professor Alan Dershowitz, have described Ellison as personally anti-Semitic. Dershowitz even threatened to quit the party if Ellison had won.
The Minnesota congressman has deep ties to extremist groups.
Ellison has been tied to the Nation of Islam, and once supported its virulently anti-Semitic founder, Louis Farrakhan. CNN found that Ellison was involved in the Nation of Islam for about a decade between the 80s and 90s. During that time, while in law school, Ellison aligned with anti-Semitic campaigners and Holocaust deniers, often taking to the press to defend them. He often came to Farrakhan’s defense, claiming Farrakhan was no anti-Semite. However, Farrakhan, has previously insisted that Judaism is a “gutter religion,” and blames Jews for the African slave trade.
Moving forward into the 21st century, Ellison has showed immense disrespect for the office of the presidency, engaging in vast conspiracies surrounding the 9/11 attacks. In 2007, he described former President George W. Bush as a Hitler-like figure, suspecting that 9/11 was an inside job.
From 2009 up until present day, Ellison has engaged with several figures who are close to the Palestinian terrorist organization Hamas.
In 2009, he met with a man described by the FBI as a fundraiser for Hamas.
Throughout the years, Ellison often has spoken at fundraisers hosted by the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), which has been profiled by the Department of Justice as a Hamas-related organization. Additionally, CAIR was listed as an unindicted co-conspirator in the largest terror-financing trial in American history, and is banned as a terror group in the United Arab Emirates.
Just a couple months back, Ellison was set to speak at a radical Islamic conference, rife with extremist individuals. A small sample of the individuals he was set to join includes: an unindicted co-conspirator in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, supporters of terrorist organizations such as Hamas and Hezbollah, and an advocate for suicide bombings against Jews and the death penalty for homosexuals. Ellison pulled out of the conference at the last moment after Conservative Review and other news sites exposed his expected attendance at the radical Islamic Chicago conference.
Ellison has long been militantly opposed to the State of Israel, until lately, as he has softened his tone on the Jewish state. As recently as 2014, however, Ellison was calling for the United States to withdraw its military support for Israel while it was in the midst of a war with the Palestinian terror group Hamas.
The Democratic Party, which already has major issues engaging with the vast majority of Americans, dodged a bullet Saturday. The DNC almost elected their most radical chairman since the party’s days as a segregationist institution.
Editor's note: This article has been updated to include the news that Ellison was appointed deputy chair.
Jordan Schachtel is the national security correspondent for CR. Follow him on Twitter @JordanSchachtel.