Dennis Nguyen ends campaign after strip club visits confirmed - KMSP-TV

Lone GOP Secretary of State hopeful halts campaign after strip club visits confirmed

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ST. PAUL, Minn. (KMSP) -

The only Republican in the running for Minnesota Secretary of State abruptly halted his campaign on Monday just days after his campaign manager, a Minnesota senator, confirmed the hopeful visited strip clubs.

On Thursday, City Pages blogger Aaron Rupar reported three separate and well-connected Minnesota Republicans had passed on tips that 44-year-old Dennis Nguyen frequents strip clubs.

Nguyen's campaign manager, Minnesota Sen. Branden Peterson, confirmed to the alternative news weekly that Nguyen had visited strip clubs and enjoys doing so; however, he said, "he doesn't frequent them and it's not something he does all the time."

The Associated Press reached out to Petersen for comment on Monday, but he declined.

NGUYEN CLAIMS FAMILY NEEDS MORE FOCUS

Nguyen used Facebook to explain his decision to withdraw, leaving no formal Republican in the running to replace Democratic Secretary of State Mark Ritchie, who is not seeking a third term.

"My four young children require my active involvement in their lives," Nguyen wrote. Additionally, global equity markets are on the upswing and I need to focus on bringing a number of New Asia Partners' investments to the market in 2014. This will require spending a lot of time over the next few months traveling both domestically and internationally. With my many ongoing obligations, both business and civic, it would be difficult, if not impossible, for me to make a full time commitment to a statewide campaign at this time."

Nguyen chairs two private equity investment firms, and although he is transitioning his attention back toward business, he also vowed to remain active in the Republican Party and urged both the local and national party leaders to "build a bigger tent."

REPUBLICANS LOOK FOR REPLACEMENT

Although the end of Nguyen's candidacy does leave a Republican absence on the ballot, GOP Chairman Keith Downey said he believes Republicans have a strong field of potential candidates for the post.

Petersen reportedly believes former state Sen. Ted Daley, from Eagan, would be a good candidate, and he told the Associated Press that Daley has considered entering.

Currently, two Democratic lawmakers in the Minnesota House of Representatives -- Rep. Steven Simon, of Hopkins, and Rep. Debra Hilstrom, of Brooklyn Center -- are in the race.

When asked about Nguyen's withdrawal, Simon described the development as "interesting and noteworthy, but it doesn't change what we're doing."


Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.

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