Republican pastor to challenge Ellison in Congressional race

3:57 AM, Mar 11, 2008   |    comments
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Ordained minister Barb Davis White made it official Monday, announcing she'll seek the Republican nomination for Congress in Minnesota's 5th District. "And if successful in receiving this endorsement I will be running against Mr. Keith Ellison," White said as she stood outside her high school alma mater Minneapolis North. "I'm calling out to the masses, black and white, Hispanic, African, Asian. And I'm declaring that God himself will help us when we the people get up." For years White has been a vocal supporter of the Marriage Amendment at the State Capitol. If passed by lawmakers and approved by voters, would change the Minnesota Constitution to outlaw gay marriage and civil unions. White, who is African American, has often expressed outrage at the notion that gay marriage and gay family medical benefits is considered a civil rights issue. Bu at her campaign kickoff Monday, White's rhetoric focused more on the immigration issue. "Our resources are evaporating daily because we are turning are heads and because they are telling us to have our tongues silenced," White offered. "Today we need your help in giving back to the people their land. This is our country. This is what God has given us, religious freedom, and it's time that we take back our land." Uphill climb in the 5th CD
Any Republican who runs in the 5th District is facing long odds. The district, made up of Minneapolis and its first-ring suburbs, has been in Democratic hands since 1963. In fact, the 5th district is so solidly Democratic many experts regarded the DFL primary in September 2006 as the real election that year. Long-time Congressman Martin Olav Sabo retired, leaving the race wide open. Keith Ellison, a state lawmaker, bested four solid fellow Democrats, to claim the nomination and coast to victory in November. "Usually if an incumbent's going to be vulnerable it will be after his first term," political analyst David Schultz told KARE 11 Monday. "But Ellison hasn't really made any huge mistakes in his first 13 months in office. There doesn't seem to be any sort of reason to think that in a district that's so overwhelmingly Democratic that Democrats would turn against him at this point." Schultz, a professor at Hamline University's Graduate School of Management and a lecturer at the University of Minnesota School of Law, says he doubts illegal immigration will be an overriding campaign issue in that district. "I don't think immigration was a very strong issue for Alan Fine two years ago," Schultz said in a reference to the Republican who lost to Ellison in 2006. "I doubt it will be a good issue this year in terms of pushing someone over the top. The economy is going to be far more important, far more critical." And yet the Republicans don't want to give Congressman Ellison a free ride to a second term. If nothing else, Schultz contends, Barb White's campaign will force Ellison to devote more time to defending his own seat and less time to campaigning for other Democrats. "It forces Ellison to raise money and spend money in his district," Schultz remarked, "As opposed to raising it and spending it elsewhere for others." "Republicans know for every dollar and every minute Ellison spends in his district, it's one dollar less, one minute less campaigning for the Democratic nominee for the Senate or for other candidates in Minnesota." Candidate's resume
Barb Davis White's resume includes a degree in Mortuary Science from the University of Minnesota. "It was working in the funeral industry with grieving families that led me into the ministry," White told KARE 11, "All these people who'd lost children to violence on the street." She's served as a prison chaplain, a missionary in Africa, and for a time headed Light Foundation Ministries in Minneapolis. She holds a masters degree in theology from Bethel Seminary. White is the widow of the late Pastor Kenneth White. Previous to that marriage she was a daughter-in-law of the late Minneapolis civil rights leader Harry Davis Sr. The Ellison campaign had no comment on White's candidacy, except to say that it wasn't a surprise. She's been publicly discussing the run since last October. The 5th Congressional District Republicans hold their endorsing convention April 5th at Robbinsdale Middle School.

By John Croman, KARE 11 News

(Copyright 2008 by KARE. All Rights Reserved.)

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