WASHINGTON — Three-time Pro Bowl wide receiver Anquan Boldin will travel to Atlanta this weekend to help Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) campaign for the chair of the Democratic National Committee, Ellison confirmed Thursday to SB Nation.
Boldin will be speaking at the DNC Member Reception on Friday and he will be trying to whip votes for Ellison during the day to get more DNC Member support to vote for Ellison to be the next chair.
Democrats are heading to Atlanta to vote for their party’s next chair, which is currently down to Ellison and former Barack Obama administration Labor Secretary Tom Perez.
The vote is expected Saturday. Perez has been endorsed by former Vice President Joe Biden and former Attorney General Eric Holder. The Hill’s most recent survey of DNC members gives Ellison the slight edge.
"I'm incredibly grateful to have Anquan's support," Ellison said. "He's been a stand-up leader not just on the field, but off the field as well. And if I become the Chair of the Democratic National Committee, I'll work with him and all other advocates who care deeply about the issues of our time, which are economic fairness, the environment, and community/police relations.”
Boldin and Ellison connected in November 2016 when Boldin and four other NFL players trekked to Capitol Hill to meet with congressional members about police relations and race issues at Boldin and the NFLPA’s behest. Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), Ellison, Rep. Patrick Murphy (D-Fla.), and Rep. Daniel Webster (R-Fla.) and members of the Congressional Black Caucus also attended.
Boldin has been vocal this year on police brutality and race-related conversations among NFL heavyweights. Colin Kaepernick’s national anthem protest prompted Boldin to start a group-chat that included up to 80 players to discuss those same topics privately.
Boldin’s support for Ellison stemmed from the NFL veteran’s strong advocacy of bipartisan criminal justice reform efforts, which Ellison has made central part of his candidacy, Boldin said.
“I intend to continue working closely with both Republicans and Democrats committed to working together to improve our communities,” Boldin said. “Keith and I visited a few months ago and I know he will be a tremendous leader for the Democratic Party. He is committed to the ideal that our country is still about liberty and justice for everyone. I am honored to support Keith for DNC chair.”
Ellison, a progressive from Minnesota elected in 2007, is a founder of the Congressional Justice Caucus and the Co-Chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus. His DNC Chair candidacy has been backed by Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-Vt.), Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.).
A spokesperson for Ellison said that the two parties have been in contact since their meeting in November. To Ellison’s camp, this partnership is to “continue building on their friendship and to move this country forward.”
“The fact of the matter is that in the fight ahead,” Ellison said. “We need to get as many people as possible involved and fired up."