Speed Reads

2018 elections

Keith Ellison calls Alabama a 'blue state in the making'

Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.), the deputy chair of the Democratic National Committee, confidently told The Atlantic that his party is "going to take the House and we're going to take the Senate" in 2018. Citing the unanticipated Democratic gains in the Virginia election as "foreshadowing of good things to come," Ellison pointed to the Alabama Senate race between the controversial figure of Roy Moore and the Democratic underdog, Doug Jones, as evidence of a shifting national terrain.

"Alabama is a blue state in the making," Ellison said in the interview, which was conducted before The Washington Post reported last Thursday that Moore initiated inappropriate relationships when he was in his 30s with girls as young as 14.

Alabama is typically considered to be a Republican stronghold. President Trump beat Hillary Clinton in the Yellowhammer State by 27 points in 2016, and in 2012, Republican candidate Mitt Romney beat former President Barack Obama by 23 points. Still, Ellison expressed optimism about Democrats' chances in Alabama: "It's full of folks who want a better life, who want higher pay," he said. "I think Roy Moore is, he's a perfect villain, he's a gun-toting racist, law-violating theocratic person. And Doug Jones is a civil rights hero. If we don't win, it means only one thing, we have not gone to the grassroots and mobilized the people enough."

Asked if the Democratic Party was doing enough to support Jones, Ellison answered: "We're trying. But only time will tell. The election will tell." In the RealClearPolitics average of polls conducted after allegations came to light, Moore leads Jones by a narrow 2 points. Read Ellison's full interview at The Atlantic.