On Friday, Noah Johnson, the Legalize Cannabis Now candidate for Minnesota’s attorney general seat, posted a video on his campaign’s Facebook page and asked his supporters not to vote for him.
Instead, he said, they should vote for the Democratic candidate: his opponent, Keith Ellison.
Johnson knows this is an “unusual” move, as he puts it, for a politician. He has been stewing on this ever since Ellison came out in support of legalizing marijuana in October, but he says it’s about more than that.
Over the past few weeks, he’s watched the race between Ellison and Republican Doug Wardlow become narrower and narrower. Recent polls show Wardlow beating Ellison by 7 points, as the Democratic candidate struggles to handle allegations of abuse toward his ex-girlfriend, Karen Monahan.
Between those two candidates, Johnson knows who he’d rather have in office.
“Doug Wardlow is a lawyer for a hate group,” he said in the video, referring to Wardlow’s past working for the Alliance Defending Freedom. “He’s a bully and a bigot.”
And he doesn’t want to siphon away any votes that might have otherwise given Ellison an edge.
So Johnson is sending his voters Ellison’s way, not just for legal marijuana, but for “LGBT rights, transgender rights, the rights of women,” and “civil rights.” He says he feels optimistic that “Minnesotans will make the right choice.”
In the future, he says, he would like to have the opportunity to serve in the office himself. But if taking his shot at it this year means Wardlow is more likely to win, then this just isn’t his year.
“It’s an unusual thing to do, but it’s the right thing to do.”