Two new contenders entered the race Wednesday for Ramsey County attorney. They are John Choi, St. Paul city attorney, and Tammy Pust, a Roseville City Council member and a former prosecutor.

They will seek to replace Susan Gaertner, who was elected in 1994 but is running for governor.

Choi, 39, officially announced his candidacy at Skyline Towers, in St. Paul's Midway area. He immigrated with his family to the United States from South Korea when he was 3 years old, and now lives in the city's Highland Park neighborhood.

Choi, who was appointed city attorney in 2006, said, "Everyone who runs for this office will talk about prosecuting criminals and holding offenders accountable. That is a big part of this job. I have a proven track record of doing that.

"But justice is about more than that. It's about ensuring the criminal justice system works for all people, that we do everything we can to prevent crime from happening and to effectively intervene in the lives of kids who are headed for trouble."

As city attorney, Choi said he leads an office of 70 employees and has an $8 million annual budget. The county attorney's office has about 380 employees and a $38 million budget.

Pust, 51, of Roseville, was a prosecutor in the state attorney general's office and also is former assistant commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Children, Families and Learning. She said she has led two successful law firms and has been a community and legal leader.

"I am in this race to prevent and prosecute crimes," Pust said in a news release. "You can't just fight crime in the courtroom. You also have to prevent crimes by partnering with schools, civic organizations, business groups, churches, law enforcement groups, parents and local government."

Two other candidates also have announced that they are running for the post in next year's election.

Dave Pinto is an assistant county attorney who prosecutes domestic violence cases; David Schultz is a civil trial attorney and former prosecutor in the state attorney general's office.

Pat Pheifer • 612-741-4992