John Choi announces bid for Ramsey County Attorney

Choi already has several key endorsements from local unions and politicians.

by Robert Downs and Krista Webb

St. Paul City Attorney John Choi announced Wednesday afternoon that he is seeking DFL endorsement for Ramsey County Attorney . Choi is poised to be the favorite in the race between the four announced candidates. Incumbent county attorney Susan Gaertner is not running for re-election, but instead entering the gubernatorial race next November. Choi has a number of key endorsements from politicians such as St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman , Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman , House Majority Leader Tony Sertich and other former and sitting political figures. âÄú[Choi] has peopleâÄôs respect,âÄù Coleman said. âÄúHe has the respect of people he works with, the police and the city of St. Paul.âÄù Choi was essential in bringing a civil gang injunction against members of Sureño 13, a gang with a large presence in St. Paul. The controversial injunction barred the members from attending a Cinco de Mayo festival in May. Teamsters Local 120 , LaborersâÄô Local 132 , Minnesota Pipe Trades Association , the Police OfficersâÄô Federation of Minneapolis, and St. Paul Firefighters Local 21 are the unions endorsing Choi. Representatives from several of those unions appeared with Choi Wednesday. âÄúChoiâÄôs story is a great example of the American dream coming true,âÄù Rhys Ledger, political director for Teamsters Local 120 said. Choi emigrated from South Korea in 1973. He held a press conference from a low income apartment complex on University Avenue in St. Paul âÄî the first place he lived after moving to America. Choi managed an $8 million budget and 70 employees as city attorney, he said. The Ramsey County Attorney manages 380 employees and operated on a $38 million budget in 2009. âÄúJustice is about âĦ ensuring the criminal justice system works for all peopleâÄù Choi said. âÄú[That is] what I will do as your Ramsey County Attorney.âÄù Roseville city councilmember Tammy Pust announced her candidacy Wednesday as well, bringing the total number of candidates to four. Ramsey County Domestic Violence Prosecutor Dave Pinto and former Assistant Attorney General David Schultz are also running for the position.