Longtime State Attorney General Warren Spannaus Dies

Warren Spannaus Photo: KSTP
Warren Spannaus

November 27, 2017 04:05 PM

Warren Spannaus, who served as Minnesota's attorney general from 1971-83, has died just days shy of his 87th birthday.

He was first elected to the post in 1970 and won re-election in 1974 and '78.


"One of my first jobs in government was as an intern in the consumer division for Attorney General Warren Spannaus," said Sen. Amy Klobuchar in a statement.

"He became a lifelong friend and mentor."

Spannaus also ran for the DFL nomination for governor in 1982 and was endorsed by the party. But he lost a tightly-fought  primary election to Rudy Perpich.

"The primary was really the big election," Perpich's son Rudy Perpich Jr. remembered of that campaign. "I remember (Perpich) went to bed that night thinking he'd lost. Votes came in more slowly back then. Everything was hand-counted. He was losing when he went to bed. Then I remember he got a call saying things had changed. He had to get up and go down to a victory celebration."

RELATED: Flashback Friday: Perpich Pulled Off Comeback in Return to Governor's Chair 35 Years Ago

Gov. Mark Dayton also praised Spannaus' contributions to the state over the years.

“Warren Spannaus was a champion for the best interests of Minnesotans, as Attorney General and throughout his career," Gov. Mark Dayton said in a statement Monday.

"He expanded that office’s role in safeguarding consumers and protecting our natural resources. I extend my condolences to his family and many friends, who mourn his loss today.” 

Current attorney general Lori Swanson praised the role Spannaus played in developing consumer protection in the state during his tenure as attorney general.

"Once Warren became Attorney General, Minnesota citizens became empowered," Swanson's statement said in part. "Senior citizens tell me that in the 1970s, they felt they had clout when they had a dispute with, for instance, an auto repair shop or phone company.

"Many seniors tell me that if they had a consumer dispute, they just threatened to 'call Warren' (not needing to use his last name), and the matter would get resolved." 




Frank Rajkowski

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