Dennis Nguyen becomes first Republican in Secretary of State's race

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The chairman of two Minneapolis investment firms is making his first bid for public office by running for Minnesota Secretary of State.

The Pioneer Press reports Dennis Nguyen kicked off his campaign with a Sunday rally at the State Capitol. Nguyen, who was born in Vietnam and moved to the U.S. as a child, tells the newspaper he feels pride when he steps into a voting booth and wants to remove barriers that keep eligible voters from the polls.

The Associated Press reports that if he's elected Nguyen would become the first Asian-American elected to statewide office in Minnesota.

Nguyen's announcement has been expected for weeks. Politics in Minnesota reported that Nguyen had registered with the state's Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board last month. The story mentions that he co-founded the venture capital firm New Asia Partners more than a decade ago and joined Gov. Mark Dayton on a recent trade mission to China.

MPR reported that Nguyen was distributing fliers promoting his candidacy at October's meeting of the Minnesota Republican Party.

Next year's Secretary of State's race will be the only statewide campaign without an incumbent running. Mark Ritchie is not seeking a third term. While Nguyen is the first Republican to enter, two DFL state representatives are running. They are Steve Simon of Hopkins and Debra Hillstrom of Brooklyn Center.

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