Swanson’s plan thins DFL field for attorney general

Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson’s decision to seek reelection rather than launch a bid for governor has other DFL candidates reconsidering their plans.

There were five Democrats campaigning for what many believed would be an open contest for attorney general.

Soon after the incumbent announced on Sunday her intention to run for another term, state Rep. Debra Hilstrom and former Rep. Ryan Winkler announced they were no longer running for attorney general.

“Always knew that this could happen,” Hilstrom said. “Lori’s done a great job being the attorney general and Minnesotans are lucky to have her.”

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Winkler said he never intended to challenge Swanson, who he now plans to support.

“I was running because it’s a critically important office to protect Minnesotans of abuses of money and power,” Winkler said. “It was too important an office to not to have a campaign ready to go, should she decide to run for governor.”

St. Paul City attorney Sam Clark did not immediately provide an update on his campaign plans.

Former state commerce commissioner Mike Rothman said in a written statement that he was reviewing the situation.

“Since stepping down as Commissioner of Commerce, I have received strong support and enthusiasm to be the people's Attorney General,” Rothman said. “Please stay tuned.”

Another DFL candidate, Matt Pelikan said he will remain in the race.

“I’ve been in this race from the beginning, regardless of Attorney General Swanson’s intentions, because we need a strong, progressive attorney general, and that’s what I hope to bring to the office,” Pelikan said

The lone Republican candidate for attorney general is Doug Wardlow.