Endorsements pile up in Ramsey County attorney’s race

High-powered endorsements continue to roll in for the candidates in the Ramsey County attorney’s race.

Long-time incumbent Susan Gaertner isn’t seeking election, and two highly respected lawyers — John Choi and David Schultz — are competing in the race.

Choi has the DFL endorsement, even though it’s a nonpartisan race, and has previously racked up endorsements from tons of local elected officials, ranging from former Vice President Walter Mondale and St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman to six members of the St. Paul School Board.

Many of Schultz’s endorsements have tended to come from the legal community — including former assistant attorneys general and and lawyers — but today he announced the backing of former U.S. Sen. Dave Durenberger and former state legislator Matt Entenza, who had sought the DFL nod in the governor’s race.

Said Durenberger:

“Through his work for the family of Father John Kaiser, who was murdered in Kenya, I have come to know David as a hardworking and talented lawyer who is sincerely committed to justice in our community. He will be a fair-minded, nonpartisan and hardworking County Attorney who will always place the interests of Ramsey County and all of its residents first.”

Entenza’s comments:

“David has had a lengthy and substantial legal career, during which he obtained the expertise and leadership skills the County Attorney’s office needs. David and I worked together at the Attorney General’s office and I know David to be a strategic and tactical thinker. While at the AG’s office, David served as the head of the training department where he taught young lawyers, including me, the art of being a trial lawyer. David is, in fact, one of the finest trial lawyers I have ever seen.

“Throughout his 25-year career, as an Assistant Attorney General as well as in his private practice, David has proven that he is committed to bettering our community through promoting equality and justice. David will keep us safe, while continuing to always do the right thing. I am impressed by David’s work as the Chair of the Board of the Innocence Project of Minnesota and I consider that just one example of his tireless commitment to justice.”

Comments (3)

  1. Submitted by James Hamilton on 10/20/2010 - 07:49 pm.

    Endorsements by politicians are essentially meaningless. What are they going to do, be honest about the strengths and weaknesses of the endorsee?

    If I were hiring a lawyer to represent me in litigation, Mr. Schultz might well be my choice. However, we’re hiring a policy maker/manager/administrator, jobs for which Mr. Choi seems to me to be more qualified by experience.

  2. Submitted by Tim Walker on 10/21/2010 - 09:05 am.

    And in today’s Pioneer Press (Oct. 21), the editorial board endorsed David Schultz.

    I think the race will be close, but because Choi got the DFL nod, he’ll probably win.

    I prefer David, but Choi will do fine, I’m sure.

    David may win, though, if a lot of GOPers vote for him just because they don’t want to vote for the DFL-endorsed candidate.

    But that presupposes that these GOPers have been paying enough attention to this race to know of Choi’s DFL backing. That’s because “DFL” won’t appear on the ballot next to Choi’s name (it’s a non-partisan race).

    So, it will be interesting to watch how this one turns out.

  3. Submitted by Laurence Reszetar on 10/21/2010 - 01:43 pm.

    James,

    I’m going to disagree with you a little on the job responsibilities. In full disclosure, I work with David and have been very involved with the campaign so I have a little bias for the candidate, but think I’m pretty objective as to the responsibilities of the job.

    The County Attorney is more than a policy maker/manager/administrator. The County Attorney has the ultimate discretion when it comes to felony criminal trials, as well as negotiating other county contracts and settling civil litigation.

    The County Attorney is not a manager – the County Attorney is an executive. In my mind, that is one of the reasons why David is a much more qualified candidate. Successful executives understand the work of the entity they lead – if they don’t, it doesn’t generally go well. David understands the law, the rules of criminal and civil procudure, and the rules of evidence.

    As a practicing attorney, I know that on a regular basis I go to my senior partners with questions on how to deal with evidence, what arguments are more persuasive, how to deal with a judge, and a myriad of other questions that arise in the practice of law. I know that David can answer those questions because he’s done it. I don’t know that John can since he’s only had one trial in his career.

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