Former state Sen. John Howe, a Red Wing businessman, said Tuesday that he is running for Republican endorsement for Minnesota secretary of state.
Howe’s announcement comes a day after Republican businessman Dennis Nguyen dropped out of the race, citing business concerns, but there also had been revelations that he had frequented strip clubs.
Howe, who was previously mayor of Red Wing, was elected to the Senate in 2010 but defeated in 2012 by DFLer Matt Schmit.
He attributed his loss to what he called “friendly fire.” The state Republican Party had mailed fliers depicting a mug shot of Schmit after his arrest for drunk driving.
Howe is the second former state senator — defeated in the last election cycle — to express interest in the office. Former Sen. Ted Daley of Eagan said he is exploring entering the race and will decide by the end of the week.
The secretary of state office is an open, statewide seat. Secretary of State Mark Ritchie, a DFLer, is not running again.
Two DFLers are trying for the office — state Rep. Deb Hilstrom of Brooklyn Center and state Rep. Steve Simon of Hopkins.