Red Wing Republican John Howe announced at a Capitol news conference this afternoon he had decided to withdraw from the Secretary of State race.
Howe made his announcement a half hour before the 5 p.m. deadline to withdraw. In an interview, he said several people had encouraged him to run, but he ultimately decided against it because he had promised to abide by the Republican Party's endorsement process.
"When you really want to do what is best for the state and you really think you are the best person, it is awful hard to pull outo of a race. But in the end, I said that it is what I would do and that's what I am going to do," said Howe, a former senator.
Last weekend, Republican delegates gathered in Rochester voted to endorse former state Rep. Dan Severson of Sauk Rapids for secretary of state. Howe's decision to withdraw spares Severson from a primary fight.
Howe said he called a news conference because he wanted one last chance to talk about why it is so important Republicans start focusing on the business-side of the secretary of state's job and not focus solely on elections and voter ID.
"There's a whole other side (to that job) and I think we need to have people in that office that have a good business background," he said.