Minnesota is one of the states whose race for attorney general is closer than it should be. Take last night’s first of four debates between the incumbent Keith Ellison and his Republican opponent, Jim Schultz. In essentially all of these high stakes AG races, the chief Republican position out of the gate is – you guessed it – crime. The MN race is no different.
Ellison said the purpose of the office is to be the “chief legal officer of the state. It’s not to be the chief law enforcement officer of the state.” […]
Ellison tried to blunt the criticism of his support for the failed Minneapolis policing ballot amendment, which would have replaced the city’s police department with a new public safety agency. He said his support for the measure was about the need to address problems with the Minneapolis Police Department, not a full-on effort to strip funding.
“We have to have an office that fundamentally supports law enforcement,” Schultz said.
He repeatedly faulted Ellison for increasing the charge against Potter from second-degree to first-degree manslaughter, calling it “politically motivated.”
Alluding to Schultz’s lack of criminal law experience, Ellison noted that the trial judge could have thrown out the first-degree charge for lack of evidence if she thought it wasn’t appropriate. “You might not realize this, Jim: Every defendant has a right to make a motion for dismissal for lack of probable cause,” Ellison said.
The topic of crime may be boilerplate, but it is clearly low hanging fruit for Republicans in practically all “nationalized” races in this country. Hopefully the balance of the debates will prove much more illuminating if they discuss issues of, say, consumer protection, fair housing, and other much more pivotal and actionable policies for the citizens of this state.