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Former state senator, Red Wing mayor to run for secretary of state

RED WING, Minn. -- John Howe, a former Red Wing mayor and state senator, has announced he is seeking the Republican endorsement for secretary of state.

“I certainly enjoyed my time when I served in the Senate and also when I served as mayor,” Howe said. “It’s a great opportunity to get back into public service.”

Howe announced his decision just after the sole GOP candidate, Dennis Nguyen, dropped out of the race, but Howe said that did not affect his decision and he already had planned to run.

Howe was elected Red Wing’s mayor in 2008 and to the state Senate in 2010. He ran for the Senate again in 2012 but was defeated by DFLer Matt Schmit.

Howe said maintaining election integrity is the most important aspect of the Secretary of State’s Office.

He said he would abide by the party’s endorsement if other Republicans entered the race. Former Sen. Ted Daley, R-Eagan, also is considering running, sources say.

Reps. Debra Hilstrom of Brooklyn Center and Steve Simon of Hopkins are seeking the DFL nomination for secretary of state.

Howe and his wife live with their three children in Red Wing. He owns and operates a real estate management company.