Matt Pelikan, a progressive activist and attorney, said Monday he is running for the DFL nomination for attorney general.

The Northfield native is a graduate of the University of Minnesota Law School, where he was editor-in-chief of the law review, he said in a news release.

"I believe that we need a strong, progressive attorney general now more than ever. We need a fresh face with new perspectives," said Pelikan, who would be the first openly gay attorney general in Minnesota history.

Pelikan said he clerked for Justices Paul Anderson and David Lillehaug on the Minnesota Supreme Court.

Rep. Debra Hilstrom, DFL-Brooklyn Center, and Ryan Winkler, a former DFL lawmaker, have also expressed their intention to run, contingent on current Attorney General Lori Swanson stepping aside to run for governor.

Swanson's plans have been the source of speculation for months.

Rep. John Lesch, DFL-St. Paul, ended his campaign for attorney general last week, citing family reasons.

Harry Niska and Doug Wardlow, a former lawmaker, are both running on the Republican side.

J. Patrick Coolican