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Though the total number of Nguyen's House endorsements is impressive on its face, he failed to win the support of House Minority Leader Kurt Daudt.

Dozens of House Republicans endorse Nguyen for Secretary of State

Republican Secretary of State candidate Dennis Nguyen has been endorsed by a majority of GOP lawmakers. (Staff photo: Peter Bartz-Gallagher)

Republican Secretary of State candidate Dennis Nguyen has been endorsed by a majority of GOP lawmakers. (Staff photo: Peter Bartz-Gallagher)

Dennis Nguyen has now been endorsed by a majority of Republican legislators in both chambers, following Monday’s announcement that 40 House Republican caucus members are supporting the first-time candidate. In early December, Nguyen secured the endorsement of 23 members of the Senate Republican caucus.

Those figures mean that only 20 House GOP members and five Republican senators chose not to endorse Nguyen, an investment banking executive. Nguyen remains the lone declared GOP candidate looking to succeed current Secretary of State Mark Ritchie, though other potential candidates are known to be mulling their options.

Nguyen’s Monday announcement was accompanied by statements of support from a pair of legislators. Rep. Mike Beard, R-Shakopee, said Nguyen’s background in the private sector, as opposed to government service, would make him especially effective as the top administrator for business registrations and elections: “He is a solutions-oriented, non-political businessman. As such, he will bring a fresh set of eyes to and will revitalize the workings of, our state government.”

Also chiming in on Nguyen’s behalf was Rep. Steve Drazkowski, R-Mazzeppa, who said Nguyen could create a coalition of “conservatives, libertarians, and moderates, positioning our Republican Party well for victory in November.”

Nguyen has so far positioned himself as a centrist candidate, saying he plans to reach out to unaffiliated moderate voters and business-minded Democrats, and pledged to campaign in DFL-friendly parts of the state, including the Twin Cities area.

Though the total number of Nguyen’s House endorsements is impressive on its face, he failed to win the support of House Minority Leader Kurt Daudt, as well as Daudt’s predecessor at the top of the House GOP caucus, former Speaker Kurt Zellers, R-Maple Grove, who is now running for the GOP gubernatorial nomination. Also withholding her endorsement was Rep. Joyce Peppin, R-Rogers, who was once rumored to be thinking about her own bid for the Secretary of State’s office, though she later withdrew her name from consideration.

For his part, Nguyen pointed out that his House backers hail from all over the state, and continued to focus his campaign on the business and economic aspects of the Secretary of State’s office.

“They understand that we need to elect a Secretary of State who has the requisite skill set to assist with getting Minnesota’s economy moving forward,” Nguyen said of his House Republican supporters.

Here is the full list of House members who have endorsed Nguyen’s candidacy:

Rep. Jim Abeler

Rep. Tony Albright

Rep. Mark Anderson

Rep. Paul Anderson

Rep. Bob Barrett

Rep. Mike Beard

Rep. Mike Benson

Rep. Tony Cornish

Rep. Bob Dettmer

Rep. Steve Drazkowski

Rep. David Fitzsimmons

Rep. Pat Garofalo

Rep. Steve Green

Rep. Glenn Gruenhagen

Rep. Bob Gunther

Rep. Tom Hackbarth

Rep. Rod Hamilton

Rep. Jerry Hertaus

Rep. Jeff Howe

Rep. Brian Johnson

Rep. Tim Kelly

Rep. Deb Kiel

Rep. Ron Kresha

Rep. Ernie Leidiger

Rep. Jenifer Loon

Rep. Jim Newberger

Rep. Bud Nornes

Rep. Marion O’Neill

Rep. John Petersburg

Rep. Cindy Pugh

Rep. Duane Quam

Rep. Linda Runbeck

Rep. Tim Sanders

Rep. Joe Schomacker

Rep. Chris Swedzinski

Rep. Paul Torkelson

Rep. Dean Urdahl

Rep. Anna Wills

Rep. Kelby Woodard

Rep. Nick Zerwas

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