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MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Minnesota Rep. Keith Ellison on Sunday denied an allegation from an ex-girlfriend that he had once dragged her off a bed while screaming obscenities at her — an allegation that came just days before a Tuesday primary in which the congressman is among several Democrats running for state attorney general.

The allegation first surfaced Saturday night from Karen Monahan after her son alleged in a Facebook post that he had seen hundreds of angry text messages from Ellison, some threatening his mother. He also wrote he had viewed a video in which Ellison dragged Monahan off the bed by her feet. Monahan, a Minneapolis political organizer, said via Twitter that what her son posted was “true.”

Ellison denied the allegation of physical abuse. A spokesman for his campaign also denied the congressman had sent threatening text messages.

“Karen and I were in a long-term relationship which ended in 2016, and I still care deeply for her well-being,” Ellison said in a statement. “This video does not exist because I have never behaved in this way, and any characterization otherwise is false.”

Monahan had sent Twitter messages for several months referencing an unidentified, powerful man who had abused her. She had declined to share her story when contacted in recent weeks by The Associated Press, and she did not respond to a message late Saturday requesting copies of the texts and video.

Minnesota Public Radio News reported Sunday that it reviewed more than 100 text and Twitter messages between Ellison and Monahan that showed the two communicating over months after their breakup, including coordinating her getting her things from his house. MPR said the tenor was sometimes friendly, sometimes combative. MPR said in one message, Monahan told Ellison she planned to write about their “journey” and Ellison warned her not to, calling it a “horrible attack on my privacy, unreal.”

MPR said there was no evidence in the messages it reviewed of alleged physical abuse.

Ellison, who is divorced, is a six-term congressman and a leader within the Democratic Party. He became deputy chairman of the Democratic National Committee last year after falling just short of the top job. He announced this summer he would leave Congress after six terms representing the Minneapolis area and run for the state’s open attorney general’s office.

With a huge fundraising advantage and star power over his opponents — including a visit from Vermont Sen. and 2016 presidential candidate Bernie Sanders — Ellison was considered the heavy favorite heading into Tuesday’s primary.

Ellison’s Democratic opponents pounced on the allegations. State Rep. Debra Hilstrom circulated the initial Facebook post Saturday night, calling the allegations “troubling.” Tom Foley, a former county attorney, called on any video or messages to be turned over to law enforcement for an “immediate investigation.”

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FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) — A Florida newspaper urged a judge Friday to reject a school board’s effort to have it and two reporters held in contempt for publishing a story on the educational background of Parkland school shooting suspect Nikolas Cruz.

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Former White House staffer and “Apprentice” star Omarosa Manigault Newman on Sunday played a recording of what she characterized as White House chief of staff threatening her to depart the White House in a “friendly” manner, or else face “difficulty” with her “reputation.”

The mere fact that Manigault Newman, who has a new book out, managed to secretly record the White House chief of staff and purportedly in the White House situation room, no less — is itself newsworthy.

Elsewhere in the interview, Manigault Newman said she was “complicit with this White House deceiving this nation,” and that she was “totally complicit” in aiding the President blame both white nationalists and anti-racist protesters for the violence in Charlottesville last year.

“I had a blind spot where it came to Donald Trump,” she said. “I wanted to see the best in him. And obviously I felt miserably, because after that he gets up and he says that there are good people on both sides when he should have been denouncing what we saw as clearly racist, Nazis, going against the grain of this country.”

Manigault Newman didn’t resign her position in the White House after Charlottesville, though, instead staying on for several months before being fired in December of last year. (She previously falsely claimed she had resigned.) 

“I was so much a part of this, and I accept and I admit that I was,” she said.

“This book is riddled with lies and false accusations,” White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders has said, in part, about the book. Trump called Manigault Newman a “lowlife” Saturday.

Manigault Newman explained Sunday that she’d resisted leaving the White House because “I was working to try to find someone who could take my place,” noting the White House hasn’t hired another African American presidential aide since her departure.  

Elsewhere in the interview, Manigault Newman said she’d personally heard the “n-word tape” — of the President using the racial slur during a taping of “The Apprentice” — though she said she heard the audio after the book was completed. She’d previously claimed to NPR’s “Morning Edition,” incorrectly, that her book describes her listening to the tape.

“I have heard for two years that it existed, and once I heard it for myself it was confirmed what I feared the most, that Donald Trump is a con and has been masquerading as someone who is actually open to engaging with diverse communities,” she said Sunday. “But when he talks that way, the way he did on this tape, it confirmed that he is truly a racist.”

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HOUSTON (AP) — Thara Narasimhan, who hosts an Hindu radio program in Houston, has already given $1,200 to a Democrat running against Republican U.S. Rep. Pete Olson, who once drove around his solidly conservative Texas district with a “NEVER HILLARY” bumper sticker on his pickup. Her plans to donate even more bewilder friends.

“It’s not the question of why I have to support a failing candidate,” said Narasimhan, mingling at a fundraiser for Democrat Sri Kulkarni on a sweltering Texas summer night. “Unless you put some faith in it, you’re not going to make it work.”

The November midterms are on pace to shatter records for political spending. While more than $1 billion raised so far nationally is helping finance battlegrounds that are poised to decide control of Congress, restless donors aren’t stopping there — they’re also putting cash into races and places they never have before to help underdog Democrats.

Examples include: a district home to the Dallas Cowboys’ stadium and held by the GOP since 1983; the South Carolina district of outgoing U.S. Rep. Mark Sanford; and a reliably Republican Southern California district that President Donald Trump won by 15 points.

All are places where Democrats are outraising their Republicans opponents — a feat that while perhaps not changing the conventional wisdom about their chances, is succeeding in giving their campaigns unusual viability. In Texas, 15 Democratic challengers running in Republican-held districts have so far raised at least $100,000. In 2014, only one cracked six figures.

The average cost of winning a House seat is more than $1 million. And in Texas, some candidates still lag substantially behind despite their early hauls in places where Republicans have been invincible.

But driving donors’ eagerness to open their wallets to longshot candidates, supporters say, is a mix of anti-Trump enthusiasm and optimism following upsets like Democrat Doug Jones’ last year in a Senate race in Alabama. Campaigns, meanwhile, say donors are simply responding to finally having better candidates in historically lopsided districts that previously attracted only fringe contenders who made little effort to professionally fundraise or run hard.

At a crowded house party in suburban Austin for Democrat MJ Hegar, Jana Reeves found a seat on a kitchen bench that was a long way from her own Hill Country home that isn’t even in Hegar’s congressional district. Hegar has raised more $1.7 million in large part due to a polished six-minute campaign ad called “Doors” that got attention online and enticed donors like Reeves to give her a hand.

“Even though it’s hopeless? You know why?” Reeves said of the giving to Hegar and other Democratic challengers. “Even though maybe my paltry money can’t do much, I still want to support these people in the deep red districts, because the Democrats (at party headquarters) aren’t going to do it.”

In few places is the surge of money more evident than in Texas. At the top of the ticket, Rep. Beto O’Rourke is outraising Republican Sen. Ted Cruz in a state where Democrats have not won a statewide race since 1994. Seven Democrats also outraised their GOP opponents between April and June in districts held by Republicans, bolstered by primary runoffs that forced campaigns to double down on fundraising.

Hegar is among the most successful. The military veteran is running against Republican Rep. John Carter, who was re-elected to an eighth term in 2016 by 20 points over a Democrat who only raised $16,000 total. Now she has the attention of Trump’s campaign team, which last month announced it would financially help Carter along with roughly 100 other Republican House and Senate candidates.

For her part, Hegar doesn’t inveigh against Trump while passing the hat: She didn’t even mention his name while speaking to a living room of about 50 supporters at the Austin fundraiser. She said afterward that she understands Trump was motivating some of the donors but she preferred to talk to them about other issues.

“They want to fight against racism. They want to fight against bullying and intimidation and things like that. And they’re labeling those things with a person’s name,” Hegar said. “I think it’s more effective to fight against those themes.”

Near Fort Worth, Democrat Jana Lynne Sanchez has raked in more than $358,000 and has campaigned through summer with more money than her heavily favored Republican opponent, Ronald Wright. They’re both running to replace GOP Rep. Joe Barton, who represented the district for more than 30 years but abandoned plans for re-election after a nude photo of him circulated online.

Sanchez bemoaned the “fish fries and pancake breakfasts” that candidates used in the past to raise money and spends six hours a day on the phone, competing with a half-dozen campaigns that she said are “sucking up most of the money” from big donors. On her list of ways to spend that money: hiring a campaign manager who has previous flipped a Republican district.

“People who say, ‘Money doesn’t vote,’ have never run a campaign,” Sanchez said.


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TORNILLO, Texas (AP) — Texas lawmakers say they have been told atemporary tent shelter in far West Texas for immigrant minors will stay open another month.

State Reps. Ina Minjarez and Diego Bernal of San Antonio told the San Antonio Express-News that they toured the Tornillo facility Friday. About 170 teen boys are being housed in tents at Tornillo. The U.S. government opened the facility in June because its existing shelters were at capacity. More than 2,000 children were put in government shelters after being separated from their parents under the Trump administration’s zero-tolerance policy.

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services spokesman Brian Marriott said Saturday that an existing contract for the facility that was due to expire Aug. 13 has been extended by 30 days.

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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (AP) — A day after tensions between police and community activists nearly boiled over on the University of Virginia’s campus, the city of Charlottesville plans to mark Sunday’s anniversary of a deadly gathering of white supremacists with a rally against racial hatred. But some 115 miles (185 kilometers) away in Washington, the principal organizer of last year’s “Unite the Right” event will hold a “white civil rights rally,” and police are preparing for crowds of counterprotesters.

Jason Kessler, who abandoned his bid to stage a similar anniversary event in Charlottesville, said in his permit application that he expects 100 to 400 people to participate in his event Sunday afternoon in Lafayette Park, in front of the White House.

But that could be lower and likely will be dwarfed by counterprotests. Some leading figures in the U.S. white nationalist movement have said they won’t attend or have encouraged supporters to stay away.

The National Park Service also issued permits for events organized by DC United Against Hate, New York Black Lives Matter, and other groups. Government and police officials in Washington have expressed confidence the city can manage the events without violence; the mayor and police chief have promised a massive security mobilization to keep protesters and counter-protesters apart.

On Saturday evening on UVA’s campus, police had a brief, tense confrontation with students and other activists angry over a heavy security presence. They unfurled a banner reading “Last year they came w/ torches. This year they come w/ badge” and chanted “Why are you in riot gear? We don’t see no riot here.” More than 200 marched to another part of campus, where many shouted at a line of officers.

Last year, 22-year-old Clara Carlson faced down the group of white supremacists who marched through campus, surrounding her and a group of friends. On Saturday night, she was angry at the police response to the student rally.

“The university administration just let white supremacists roll through grounds with their torches, and for us, they’re afraid of us. They are afraid of us because we are demanding change from the university,” Carlson said.

The rest of the day had been much quieter, with some residents and businesses expressing that they felt calmer with the police presence in town.

Last year, on Aug. 12, hundreds of white nationalists — including neo-Nazis, skinheads and Ku Klux Klan members — descended on Charlottesville in part to protest the city’s decision decided to remove a monument to Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee from a park.

Violent fighting broke out between attendees and counterprotesters that day. Authorities eventually forced the crowd to disperse, but a car later barreled into a crowd of peaceful counterprotesters, killing 32-year-old Heather Heyer. A state police helicopter later crashed, killing two troopers.

Heyer’s mother, Susan Bro, told The Associated Press that she has been dreading the anniversary of her daughter’s death for months. On Sunday morning, she plans to bring flowers to the spot where her daughter was killed.

Bro likened losing a child to standing in shallow water as waves roll continually in: “You let the wave wash over, and you don’t chase it. You let it go and you’re OK until the next one comes. But today, I feel like high tide is in.”


For the complete AP coverage marking one year since the rally in Charlottesville, visit


Associated Press writer Sarah Rankin in Richmond, Virginia, contributed to this report.

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