This morning's debate between Congressman Keith Ellison and his Republican challenger Chris Fields was an epic piece of political ugliness.
Things got so heated that at one point it seemed as though KFAI cut away from their coverage in fears the two might come to blows. When they came back from a commercial break about 30 seconds later, Ellison could be heard still yelling at Fields, then the audio quickly cut away again.
[jump] The highlight came about halfway through the debate when Fields accused Ellison of spending money to research Fields' personal life. Earlier this month, City Pages reported on a restraining order Fields' ex-wife filed against him back in 2006, though it's unclear who paid for the research that dug up the court filing. Ellison, who accused Fields of lying repeatedly throughout the debate, took particular umbrage with the you-spent-money-to-get-dirt-on-me accusation and went into meltdown mode.
"You're really stupid for bringing up the domestic violence," Ellison said. "You're a scumbag. You're a lowlife scumbag."
Here, via Patch, is a transcript of the exchange that ensued after Fields briefly brought up Ellison's 2010 divorce:
CHRIS FIELDS: I'm trying to remove the biggest obstacle to fixing things. You're focused on looking into my divorce papers.The debate was "temporarily put on hold" shortly thereafter, and when it resumed, both candidates had adopted more civil tones -- at least until the end, when Ellison told Fields, "I look forward to your concession speech, sir."
KEITH ELLISON: My daughter is in the next room -- I'm exercising a lot of self-control right now.
CHRIS FIELDS: My ex-wife was crushed by what you did.
KEITH ELLISON: You know I didn't do anything.
Considering the WWE-esque tone of the debate, it's not a surprise to learn that Ellison and Fields didn't shake hands when it was said and done.