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Nguyen, GOP candidate for secretary of state, acknowledges party’s image problem

MinnPost photo by Brian Halliday
Dennis Nguyen holding his daughter Nadine during Sunday's press conference.

At a meeting of the Republican Party’s State Central Committee last month, party leadership pledged more aggressive outreach to the state’s minority population.

There was tangible proof of that outreach Sunday as Republican businessman Dennis Nguyen, 43, announced his candidacy for the secretary of state, becoming the first Asian-American to run for statewide office in Minnesota.  

Nguyen owns two Minneapolis financial services firms.  Last year, he was part of Gov. Mark Dayton’s trade mission to China.  With his parents, he immigrated to the United States from Vietnam in 1975.

Nguyen acknowledged the party’s image problems before a diverse group of supporters, including former speaker of the House Steve Sviggum, state Sen. Dave Senjem and political consultant Peter Hong.

“The America of 2013 is not the America of 1953,” Nguyen said. “ Whether this perception is true or not, too many people today…believe that the Republican party does not represent them or their ideals. I am here to say today that perception is a misconception.”

Nguyen said he supports online voter registration, started by Secretary of State Mark Ritchie and the subject of a Republican lawsuit.  But, he said, the website  implementation is problematic.  “I’m for any tool that increases voter participation, [but] I think the current secretary of state should have gone through the legislative process. I would go through the process,” he said.

Nguyen is the first Republican to announce as candidate in next year’s election for secretary of state,  an open office in 2014 with the retirement of Ritchie.

Nguyen may not remain the only Republican in the race.  Former secretary of state and current state Sen. Mary Kiffmeyer is considering a candidacy.

On the DFL side, Reps. Debra Hilstrom and Steve Simon have announced their candidacies.

Comments (4)

  1. Submitted by Tom Christensen on 11/11/2013 - 10:56 am.

    I don’t have any misconceptions about the Republican Party

    I could have a misconception about a person, but I do not have any misconception about the whole Republican party. The Party speaks with the same talking points, would rather work for themselves than the country, have a sustained war on women, a sustained war on minorities, and a sustained war on sanity. They talk about rebuilding their Party. So far no changes. They can’t run their own party but they want to run the country. We have proof they can’t run the party or the country. They have run the moderates out of the party to become a party of political zealots. They don’t have a recognizable leader. They say they have many leaders. Many leaders lead to the chaos we see in the Party today. The Republicans say they are speaking for Americans and yet they keep losing elections. Something is not right with their claim of who they are speaking for. Then, when a Republican does win, Christie, they say he is not Republican enough. It is time for the Republicans to quit throwing nonsense at the wall to see what sticks and actually rebuild their party to become viable once again. It is going to be a long road home – so get started with your change. America is watching for something positive from a floundering Party.

  2. Submitted by Mike Downing on 11/11/2013 - 11:18 am.

    Best of luck Dennis Nguyen!

    I wish Dennis Nguyen the very best of luck in 2014. He is a good man, a good businessman and knows American exceptionalism first hand. He appears to be a good candidate for SOS. We need more candidates with diverse opinions and diverse backgrounds from outside the political arena. We need fewer political ideologues as SOS candidates.

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