Former GOP Sen. John Howe joins secretary of state race

John Howe

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.

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Comments (8)

  1. Submitted by Steve Titterud on 03/11/2014 - 02:51 pm.

    I’ll always remember Sen. Howe for…

    …his effort to incorporate some rectitude into a fraudulent and corrupt Vikings stadium bill, one of the FEW GOP partisans to do so. This is how this stadium could have and should have been paid for. respect him for that effort, though it failed.


    “Foes of that funding source criticized it as unreliable and immoral, and moved to replace the gambling revenue with sales taxes on all transactions in the new stadium: from tickets and concessions, to Vikings merchandise, to indoor advertising and other money sources.”

    “It’s about making it market-based rather than taking revenue from everyone,” said Sen. John Howe, a Republican from Red Wing who put forward the plan, which he described as user fee-based. “The people who use the stadium the most are the ones who should pay for it the most.”

    • Submitted by Steve Rose on 03/11/2014 - 09:28 pm.

      “FEW GOP partisans”

      Invoking that phrase would lead us to believe that the bill had some DFL support. Who was it? Certainly not Governor Dayton nor Senator John Marty.

      • Submitted by Steve Titterud on 03/12/2014 - 07:38 am.

        I blame the Democrats, but…

        …even though they provided the key votes, how many in the GOP brought motions to protect the taxpayer in that bill, as you might expect from their alleged ideology ??

        Your comment is confused, as you don’t seem aware that Rep. Marty fruitlessly opposed it to the bitter end. It was he who calculated and publicized the public subsidy of $77 per ticket for the life of the deal. And putting him together with Dayton as regards the stadium is ridiculous, as our cheerleader Governor once again did the wrong thing.

        The point here is about Sen. Howe, though. Sen. Howe was treated like a leper by his own party for standing up on behalf of the taxpayer.

        And who drove this thing on the floor of the House and the Senate ?? Who made all those threats and promises whenever a vote in committee or on the floor didn’t go the “right” way ?? It was Lanning and Rosen. Snidely and smugly sure they had the money behind them, they mocked those who made an effort to restrain the raid on the public’s pockebook.

        • Submitted by Steve Rose on 03/12/2014 - 08:31 am.


          “their alleged ideology”

          Please state the DFL and the GOP ideologies on the stadium funding issue. Now, square that with the bill passing the House and Senate with the Republicans having more NO votes than the Democrats had YES votes (both bodies). 8 DFL Senators voted NO. Who’s for the people and who’s for big business?

          From the article that you linked, “Sen. John Marty, a longtime critic of publicly funded stadiums and one of the Senate’s strongest liberals, teamed up with conservatives on the Senate panel to disparage major aspects of the bill,” It seems that Senator Marty was not with Senator Howe on this bill.

        • Submitted by Steve Rose on 03/13/2014 - 09:10 am.

          From Today’s Glean

          More about what our Governor and legislative leaders are doing for pro sports:

          “Along with all its other work, the Legislature has found time to consider what else we can do for pro sports. The AP says: “Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton and legislative leaders also met privately Wednesday to talk about tax changes that could be needed to land the Super Bowl. And a state representative has proposed a bill benefiting a professional golf foundation to coincide with the 2016 Ryder Cup to be held in Minnesota.”

  2. Submitted by Tom Lynch on 03/11/2014 - 06:03 pm.

    Sec. Of State is one office to never vote Republican

    Although I wouldn’t vote for one these days for anything, but the office in charge of voting should never be in GOPer hands. Whether they call themselves a moderate, conservative, or anything else, they all want to limit the vote. Limit it to those that “deserve” it. Not those moochers and takers.

    IOW, for the Right, it’s all about voter suppression of Democratic votes.

  3. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 03/12/2014 - 11:45 am.

    Just an observation in general

    I just noticed that Ms. Brucato column is called: “Party Politics”, and is described as a non-partisan offering. I’m not complaining about Brucato’s column, I think it’s valuable and I’m glad it here. However, the heading is misleading, Brucato does not cover MN Poltics, as a general rule she covers Republican Party politics. Perhaps another title would be more appropriate?

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