Keith Ellison for Attorney General Committee

Keeping Minnesotans Safe

Re-electing the people’s lawyer for Minnesota attorney general

The challenge

For more than 50 years, Minnesota has reliably elected a Democrat for attorney general. But events in 2022 set its midterm election to be among the most hotly contested in the country.

Controversy fueled by pandemic-related public safety spikes and the highly-publicized police murder of George Floyd were fresh on the minds of Minnesotans. Tensions were heightened even more when, during the lead-up to the election, the Supreme Court overturned the constitutional right to abortion established by Roe v. Wade. 

Incumbent Democrat Keith Ellison faced an unprecedented challenge from Republican Jim Schultz, an anti-choice corporate lawyer and political newcomer. GOP-aligned, out-of-state groups funded by Big Oil, Big Tobacco, and the Gun Lobby poured millions into Schultz’s campaign.

Ellison faced an onslaught of “race-baiting” ads, and opposition attempted to loop his campaign into a wider effort to discredit Democrat attorney generals across the country for soft-on-crime policies following the “Defund the Police” movement.

Keith Ellison meeting neighbors
Keith Ellison meeting neighbors

The idea

We were tapped to help overcome these forceful political headwinds. Voters needed to understand that Ellison was the only candidate with the experience and track record to keep communities safe and protect women’s right to choose.

To do so, we created powerful TV spots that featured Minnesota leaders to speak to Ellison’s long record of working with law enforcement and prosecutors across the state to take on the toughest criminals. U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar voiced her support for Ellison and his commitment to protecting the safety and rights of Minnesota families and women. With these issues dominating the media, it was clear Ellison’s strong stance on abortion rights would activate pro-choice women and soft Republicans to vote for the Democrat.

The work

The campaign highlighted Ellison’s successful track record on public safety and protecting personal freedoms, which proved to be highly effective. Clear information, shared by trusted messengers in the videos, countered Schultz’s opposition ads attempting to portray Ellison as pro-criminal and anti-police. 

The paid media strategy was targeted to reach persuadable voters, particularly soft Republican, suburban women who aligned with strong public safety and pro-choice messaging. We used a combination of broadcast and cable TV placements, OTT/CTV, YouTube, display advertising, and Meta to ensure these voters received compelling information about Ellison on multiple touch points leading up to Election Day. 

As a testament to the quality and effectiveness of the work, “The People’s Lawyer” campaign video won “Best in Show” for an OTT/CTV political campaign ad from the Campaigns & Elections Reeds Awards. 

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Digital Banners
Keith Ellison
Keith Ellison and neighbors
Paid Socials
Millions of dollars spent just to sow hate, division, and fear [in this election]. And you know what, we overcame it.
Keith Ellison, Minnesota Attorney General

The impact

In what became one of the most watched races in the country, our work helped to propel Ellison to victory, driving critical support in key areas of the state. Ellison’s candidacy broke through a crowded media environment to win reelection by just over 20,000 votes.

Not only was the win a rebuke of fear-mongering tactics, it demonstrated that money alone wouldn’t elect a candidate who did not represent Minnesotans’ values. In showing voters that Ellison could keep them safe and protect their right to choose, we were able to shift public opinion, and ultimately the public’s votes, toward the best candidate.

Keith Ellison with neighbors
AAPC Pollie Award
Campaigns & Elections
Reed Award