Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.), who recently received the public encouragement of Sen. Bernie Sanders and other progressives, announced Monday he will run to be the next chairperson of the Democratic National Committee.
"I am proud to announce my candidacy for Chair of the Democratic National Committee, and if given the opportunity to serve, I will work tirelessly to make the Democratic Party an organization that brings us together and advances an agenda that improves people’s lives," Ellison said in a statement.
Currently co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, Ellison became one of the first and most outspoken members of congress to endorse Sanders' presidential run and later served on the Democratic Party's Platform Committee alongside other Sanders appointees.
In addition to Sanders and other progressive allies in the House, Ellison also received the endorsement of Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York, and outgoing Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid of Utah.
With the Democratic Party reeling from its historic defeat at the polls last week, a groundswell of criticism has been directed at the so-called "Establishment Wing" of the DNC, which many blame for allowing Donald Trump to win. Writing for The Nation, John Nichols argued that Ellison—who he equated with the late congressman from Minnesota Paul Wellstone— is exactly the right kind of person to now lead the DNC.
Ellison has for months been engaged in behind-the-scenes discussions about the future of the party, and its chairmanship," Nichols reported. "Through it all, he has argued that the party must change. He has spoken not just to Sanders backers but also to key Clinton backers, to insiders and outsiders. And he has talked a lot about the Wellstone model of constant, at-the-grassroots organizing rather than a politics of money and poll-tested talking points."
Though Howard Dean, former Vermont governor and top surrogate of Clinton during her campaign who previously held the DNC post, said last week he will also run, progressive critics have said that would be a step backward for the party:
The choice of Keith Ellison v. Howard Dean as DNC Chair is such a perfect test of whether Dems learned anything https://t.co/ZapYx9Q26G
— Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald) November 11, 2016
Warning to #Democrats. If you prevent Keith Ellison from being DNC chair and choose Howard Dean YOU WILL F'ING LOSE AGAIN IN 2020! Dumb***ts
— H. A. Goodman (@HAGOODMANAUTHOR) November 10, 2016
— The Ring of Fire (@ringoffireradio) November 12, 2016
Shortly after the announcement, MSNBC's Chris Hayes said Ellison would be joining him Monday evening for a televised interview:
— Christopher Hayes (@chrislhayes) November 14, 2016