CANDIDATE PROFILES: 2022 Hennepin County Attorney race

5 EYEWITNESS NEWS is tracking all of the candidates participating in the 2022 midterm elections.

Read about the candidates for the Hennepin County Attorney race via the profiles below.

KSTP’s complete election coverage

Mary Moriarty

Mary Moriarty has spent three decades in Hennepin County courtrooms, beginning her career as a Hennepin County public defender. She became the county’s first woman chief public defender in 2014, a role she maintained for six years. During that time, Moriarty also helped end the practice of low-level marijuana stings in 2018 that disproportionately impacted Black residents. Moriarty says the experience shows she is qualified to manage a large legal team. Her career in criminal defense ended when she was removed from office in 2020. She later received a settlement of $300,000 from the Minnesota State Board of Public Defense related to the dispute. As the county prosecutor, Moriarty says she’ll bring about change to the “costly criminal justice system” by being “transparent, accountable, and accessible to the community.” 

Moriarty’s campaign website also says she will “draw upon her upbringing” to rebuild the foundation of safety within the community. That upbringing began in a small Minnesota town, where she said the “concept of public safety was understood quite differently there.” Her father, an Itasca County attorney, taught her that “public safety should be built on relationships of earned trust between community, police, and the judicial system.” She was then educated at Macalester College and later the University of Minnesota Law School. 

She is endorsed by the Minnesota DFL, Vote Pro-Choice, and Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison. 

If elected, Moriarty would be the first openly gay person to hold the office.

Visit Moriarty’s website here.

Martha Holton Dimick

Martha Holton Dimick’s campaign puts confronting violent crime and a rise in deadly drugs as her top priorities. Her campaign website highlights accomplishments in her career as the first North Minneapolis Community Prosecutor, including a reduction in juvenile crime that earned a national award. Holton Dimick gained experience running a large office in 2009 when she became Deputy City Attorney in Minneapolis, a role that saw her manage dozens of other attorneys and other staff within the criminal division. She became a judge in 2012 and handled serious crimes in the 4th Judicial District, describing it as the “most challenging but fulfilling experiences in her legal career.”

Dimick says on her campaign site that she made the decision to run for the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office following the murder of George Floyd, when her north Minneapolis neighborhood started to experience weekly shootings. She describes that time as a “turning point” that motivated her retirement from the bench and her run for Hennepin County Attorney. She also spoke of frustration “toward rising crime and blatant racial injustice” as well as her desire to “rebuild trust in the County Attorney’s office” during her initial campaign announcement.

Prior to campaigning, Holton Dimick became a nurse after balancing her classes with motherhood and multiple jobs, later deciding to “be an agent of even greater positive change” according to her campaign website. 

Holton Dimick was educated at Marquette Law School, and began her law career working in private practice. She said that a violent crime surge in Minneapolis then led her to serve her community.

She is endorsed by the Hennepin County Sheriff’s Deputies Association, the Minnesota Police and Peace Officers Association, and Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey. 

If elected, Holton Dimick would be the first person of color to hold the office.

Visit Holton Dimick’s website here.

Editor’s Note: Martha Holton Dimick’s endorsements were initially reported incorrectly and have been updated to reflect the endorsements tab on Dimick’s website, accessible through the link above.