Dennis Nguyen is seeking the GOP nomination for Secretary of State. The chairman of investment firm New Asia Partners expects to make an official announcement in September.
“There’s been a groundswell of support coming my way,” Nguyen tells PIM. “I feel good about where I’m at.”
Nguyen brings an impressive resume to the race. His family emigrated from Vietnam when he was five years old. Nguyen’s served as an adjunct law professor at the University of Minnesota Law School and vice president of investment bank Daiwa Securities Group. He was also a delegate on Gov. Mark Dayton‘s 2012 trade mission to China.
Nguyen is unlikely to be the only Republican in the contest. Conservative activist Kent Kaiser, who served in the Secretary of State’s Office under Mary Kiffmeyer, tells PIM he continues to mull a bid and expects to make a decision by the end of the year.
Likewise, former state Rep. Dan Severson expects to make a decision about the contest sometime in the Fall. “I’m going to work on a search basically just to look at the viability of it,” Severson says. “I’m looking at it.”
Kiffmeyer is also believed to be weighing a run, but didn’t return a call from PIM on Monday seeking comment.
Current DFL Secretary of State Mark Ritchie announced in June that he will not run for reelection.
The DFL field for Secretary of State has also evolved in recent days. On Friday, Rachel Larson Bohman — the former top elections official in both Hennepin and Anoka counties — announced that she was no longer seeking the DFL nomination for Secretary of State. “After much reflection, I have come to the conclusion that now is not the right time for me to seek the office of Secretary of State and I will be ending my campaign today,” Bohman wrote on her Facebook page. She promised to return any financial contributions that had been made to her campaign.
That leaves just two announced DFL candidates — state Rep. Debra Hilstrom, of Brooklyn Center, and former state Rep. Jeremy Kalin, who represented Chisago County — in the field. But that could soon change as well. State Rep. Steve Simon, DFL-Hopkins, continues to consider a bid. “I will have news very soon on my plans,” Simon says.
Nguyen has not previously run for public office. He says outreach to minority communities will be a staple of his campaign. “We’re going to make a hard play for them,” Nguyen said.