GOP challenger Chris Fields has been quick to try to capitalize on a debate with 5th District Rep. Keith Ellison that devolved to name-calling and personal attacks.
In a fundraising e-mail the day after Thursday’s debate, Fields reminded supporters that Ellison called him a “low-life scumbag” and a “gutter dweller.”
“Throughout this campaign, Ellison has also referred to me as a ‘liar’ and ‘stupid’, and even went as far as to refer to the entire GOP base as a ‘bigoted party,’” he wrote. “Friends, I urgently need your help to fight back against these abhorrent attacks. Will you help us take new TV and radio ads live immediately by making an emergency contribution of $25, $50, $100 or more right away?”
The dispute began when Ellison disputed some of Fields’ assertions—and ratcheted up in intensity when Fields questioned Ellison’s role in alerting a local news outlet about a dismissed temporary restraining order.
The men were soon arguing about their past marriages. At one point, KFAI News Director Dale Connelly put himself bodily between the two political rivals.
Following the debate, Ellison said:
"In response to my opponent's false statement, I made an uncivil reference to him. I should not have done so. I acted beneath my personal standard as a public official, and I apologize. …
"His untrue reference to the terms of my divorce was over the line, but my comment to him was over the line too. His tactics are no excuse for my departure from civility.
"I will not allow this to happen again, and I regret my action."
The two were to meet again Tuesday at the Minneapolis Urban League, but that debate has been cancelled, the Star Tribune reported Monday morning.