Ellison's House seat was previously held by Martin Olav Sabo, whose announcement of his intention to retire precipitated Ellison's candidacy. At the DFL Convention on May 6, 2006, Ellison won the party endorsement over nine other candidates, leading 2-to-1 on the first ballot, and winning endorsement on the fourth ballot. In the primary, Ellison faced former state senator Ember Reichgott Junge, Minneapolis city council member Paul Ostrow, and Sabo's chief of staff Mike Erlandson, whom Sabo had endorsed. Ellison won the primary on September 12, 2006, with 41% of the vote. One issue Ellison's campaign opponents raised was the repeated suspension of his driver's license for failure to pay tickets and fines. Ellison had also failed to pay all or part of his income taxes in five separate years between 1992 and 2000, forcing the state and Internal Revenue Service to put liens on his home. He later paid in excess of $18,000. In the November 2006 election, Ellison faced Republican Alan Fine, the Green Party's Jay Pond, and Tammy Lee of the Independence Party. Ellison won the seat with 56% of the vote.