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Former senator declares for secretary of state

Published 10:13am Wednesday, March 12, 2014

ST. PAUL — A former Republican legislator from Red Wing says he’ll run for secretary of state after the party’s lone candidate dropped out.

Former state Sen. John Howe entered the race Tuesday. Other Republicans are still considering running for the office, which incumbent Democrat Mark Ritchie is relinquishing after two terms.

On Monday, Dennis Nguyen left the race abruptly.

Howe, who owns a real estate management company, served one term in the state senate before losing a re-election campaign in 2012.

The secretary of state is the chief elections official in Minnesota but also oversees business registrations.

The Democratic nomination contest is between state Rep. Debra Hilstrom and Steve Simon.