I have looked at the records, statements, and endorsements of the two candidates running for the open Anoka County Attorney’s office, to determine which I should support and, indeed, endorse on this blog. And I’m stuck.
It is a hard decision because both candidates have impressive backgrounds. Of the two candidates, Brad Johnson of Coon Rapids (currenly an assistant Hennepin County Attorney) and Tony Palumbo of Blaine (an assistant Anoka County Attorney) both have diverse and impressive experience as prosecutors. Johnson is the lead in the complex crimes unit for Hennepin County, though he’s only done that for a few years. In addition, Johnson has extra experience in while collar crime prosecution, something we will be seeing more of a need of as the current mortgage crisis develops into it’s next stage when it becomes realized that the banks are more responsible for this than the home owners, in many cases. Palumbo has been a prosecutor for over three decades, and has done so in Anoka County.
Palumbo has endorsements from business, labor, and law enforcements. He has considerable and divers experience, including an appointment by the Minnesota Supreme Court as chair of the of the 21st Bar District Ethics Committee. He is also an actor, which somehow makes him a more interesting candidate.
Johnson has connections to some attorneys and politicians whom I respect, including Humphrey and Freeman (they were dorm mates of dad’s) and Mike Freeman, who “lured Brad Johnson from private practice in North Carolina back to Minnesota, assigning him to prominent cases that have included the land-condemnation case involving property needed to build the Twins’ new Target Field*” and who seems to be endorsing him.
Johnson’s dad, of course, hired Palumbo out of law school.
I’m not the only person having a hard time deciding this one.
For many county workers, picking sides could prove awkward. Dick Lang, a five-term Anoka County commissioner, says “the most important thing for a county attorney with a big staff is how they can deal with people.”
Lang says both men “are very capable.” He praised Palumbo’s knowledge and experience and then added, “I think Brad, possibly, is the same way.”
Anybody want to help me out here?