Mary Moriarty, a retired Hennepin County Public Defender, and Martha Holton Dimick, a retired Hennepin County District judge won Tuesday’s crowded primary to become Hennepin County Attorney. They will now move on to the general election in November.
Moriarty received 36% of the vote, compared to Dimick’s almost 18%. More than 62,000 Hennepin County residents backed Moriarty. Ryan Winkler, DFL House Majority Leader, finished with 16%.
Dimick’s vote total of 30,668 was Winkler’s 27,924, a difference in votes of 2,744 votes.
Mike Freeman, the outgoing Hennepin County Attorney, announced that he would not be seeking another term. A slew of candidates stepped in to fill his shoes.
Seven candidates were totaled in the race: Dimick, Winkler and Moriarty (former Minneapolis City Council member), former Hennepin County commissioner Tad Jude, and Jarvis Jones, long-serving lawyer and bar association officer Jarvis Jones, and Saraswati Singh, assistant Ramsey County attorney.
Jude was fourth with 10%. Ostrow was next with 8%, Singh had 7%, and Jarvis with 3%.
Moriarty served as Hennepin County Public Defender for six-years before retiring in 2021. In September, she was the first person to announce her candidacy for county attorney’s position. She was honored with high-profile endorsements by Representative Ilhan Omar, Attorney General Keith Ellison, and raised $145,000
Winkler, who announced his candidacy for the office of county attorney in October shortly after Moriarty’s, was supported by Melissa Hortman, Minnesota House Speaker, and a slate from local representatives and unions. He had also raised nearly $234,000.
Winkler declined comment on primary night and a spokesperson for the campaign said Winkler would issue a statement Wednesday.
Moriarty, who won the primary night results at Fair State Brewing Cooperative Minneapolis, attributed her win to the shared desire of the county’s residents for meaningful safety improvements.
“Font-weight: 400 We won today because the people in Hennepin County understood that reform is necessary to achieve public safety for all.” Moriarty explained to supporters. While community members, elected officials, and other organizations supporting our campaign may not agree on all issues, they all agree on one point: The status quo isn’t working .”
Moriarty stated that she wants to use data to improve public safety. This approach will also be informed by community members. She hopes to end the cycle of incarceration which is disproportionately felt in communities of color. She promised to work with community leaders to create change and that she would hold those who break the law, including police, accountable.
Dimick did not join the race until February. The former Fourth Judicial District judge and Hennepin County procuror managed to raise $135,000 and was supported by multiple mayors in Minnesota.
Dimick expressed her delight at Tuesday’s results. She stated that voters responded to her message about criminal justice reform, improving public security and “sending the message to violent criminals”.
In an interview, she stated that span style=”font weight: 400 I just hit the ground running.” “I tried reaching as many people possible to let them know that I believe in public safety and that I want people to feel safe and comfortable in their communities span>
Andrew Ulasich (37), a Minneapolis resident who is also an organizer for Faith in Minnesota said that he voted to elect Moriarty as he believed she would bring about a significant change to the way the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office functions. He added that he believes Moriarty’s approach to prison will make it safer and more safe.
Ulasich stated that prioritizing people over locking them up is better than just locking them up.
Ashley Repp, 31 years old, was a public defender for Moriarty. She called him a mentor who would give her guidance in both her legal practice as well as personal matters.
She said that she believes that this is something she will excel at. She will excel in .”
After the primary election has ended, the Nov.8 election will determine who between Dimick and Moriarty will be the next Hennepin county attorney.
Jai Hanson was second in the primary for the countywide office.
Witt currently works in the Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office as the Court Security and Adult Detention Divisions leader. She received almost three times the votes of her closest competitor, 91,001 votes which is 57%.
Banks, who is a bail agent, was once chief of Morton Police Department, and acting chief of Lower Sioux Indian Community. He received 22 percent of the vote. Hanson, who has been a police officer in Bloomington and Lakeville for more than 20 years, was voted out with 20%. The margin was 3,142 votes for Banks, and 32.690 for Hanson.