Choi voted Ramsey County attorney; Orput wins post in Washington

  • Article by: Star Tribune
  • Updated: November 2, 2010 - 11:29 PM

Office will have a new leader for first time since 1994, when Susan Gaertner was elected to the position.

Ramsey County voters on Tuesday chose a new county attorney for the first time since 1994.

John Choi, a civil practice attorney and former St. Paul city attorney won with more than 53 percent of votes cast. He defeated David Schultz, a civil trial attorney and former assistant state attorney general.

"I'm truly humbled by the fact that the public has given me the opportunity to continue in public service, and I'm not going to let them down," he said Tuesday night.

Choi, 40, served as St. Paul's city attorney for four years, leading an office of 70 employees with an $8 million annual budget. He stepped down in April to focus on his campaign. He currently works for Minneapolis firm McGrann, Shea, Carnival, Straughn & Lamb.

Choi, who has an extensive background in litigation and government relations, said he will focus on public safety issues and strive for better results in the criminal justice system. His top priorities will be battling gang violence, stopping domestic abuse and preventing juvenile crime.

Schultz, who campaigned on 25 years of experience as a prosecutor in civil and criminal cases, said he would have focused on making prosecutions more effective and cost efficient. He's a partner at Minneapolis firm Maslon Edelman Borman & Brand.

Both men, who live in St. Paul, were vying to replace longtime County Attorney Susan Gaertner, who decided not to seek reelection and made an unsuccessful bid for governor.

The county attorney's office has about 380 employees and a $38 million budget.

Washington County

Hennepin County prosecutor Peter Orput will be the next Washington County attorney.

Orput, 55, held a wide lead with nearly 80 percent of precincts reporting. He said he intends to increase prosecutions of violent and felony crimes.

He defeated Kevin Shoeberg, 45, a private attorney and city prosecutor for Landfall.

County Attorney Doug Johnson has held the post since 1999 and is retiring.

CHRIS HAVENS

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