Nine Minnesota county attorneys endorsed Democratic Attorney General Keith Ellison's re-election campaign Tuesday, two weeks after nearly two dozen county sheriffs endorsed his Republican opponent.

The county attorneys backing Ellison are Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman, Ramsey County Attorney John Choi, Anoka County Attorney Tony Palumbo, Olmsted County Attorney Mark Ostrem, Cook County Attorney Molly Hicken, Winona County Attorney Karin Sonneman, Stevens County Attorney Aaron Jordan, McLeod County Attorney Michael Junge and Lake of the Woods County Attorney Jim Austad.

"It is our honor at the Attorney General's Office to be your colleague, to stand with you," Ellison said to the county attorneys endorsing him during a news conference at the State Capitol on Tuesday. "We want to run to you to help because we know about your concern for the victims and the people who are suffering."

Former Minnesota Attorney General Skip Humphrey, Democratic U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar, former St. Louis County Attorney Mark Rubin and former Dakota County Attorney James Backstrom also endorsed Ellison on Tuesday. Klobuchar is a former Hennepin County attorney.

Several of the endorsers praised Ellison for assisting under-resourced rural county attorneys with criminal prosecution cases. Freeman, the Hennepin County attorney, spoke on Ellison's behalf both at the news conference and in a recent television ad.

The Tuesday endorsements put some of the state's most prominent county attorneys in Ellison's corner. Ellison's GOP opponent, Jim Schultz, has been endorsed by 22 sheriffs — including those representing some of the state's largest counties — as well as the Minnesota Police and Peace Officers Association.

Ellison and Schultz are nearly deadlocked in the battle for the attorney general's office, according to a Star Tribune/MPR News/KARE 11 Minnesota Poll conducted in September. The poll found that 46% of respondents favored Ellison, while 45% backed Schultz. Ellison's narrow lead falls within the poll's margin of error.

Schultz, a political newcomer, has labeled himself a law enforcement ally who will partner with police to address violent crime. He has criticized Ellison for supporting the failed ballot amendment to replace the Minneapolis Police Department with a new Department of Public Safety.

Christine Snell, Schultz's campaign manager, called Ellison's Tuesday news conference "the last gasp of a dying campaign."

"In response to Jim Schultz's historic endorsement by 22 county sheriffs and many law enforcement organizations, the best Keith Ellison could muster was endorsements from a few DFL attorneys," Snell said. "That is embarrassing for Keith, but not surprising in light of his relentless hostility to police and the reckless Defund-the-Police policies he has embraced."