Former Minnesota State Sen. John Howe said Thursday that he is withdrawing from the race for Secretary of State after failing to secure the GOP nomination at last weekend's convention in Rochester.

"I believe, and I've always said, that your word matters," said Howe, who pledged to abide by the endorsement but lost out to former State Rep. Dan Severson last Friday.

"When you think you're the best candidate for the race, it is very difficult to withdraw," Howe said. "You can talk about all the perceived injustices that you may have faced during the campaign," he said citing the fact that the Secretary of State endorsement race was moved up to before the Senate endorsement, something he considered a detriment to his campaign.

"But in the end, you need to stand by what you say. It is so easy to have situational ethics." he said.

Howe said he ran in part to give a broader understanding of what a Secretary of State does beyond elections, including focusing on the economy and jobs by serving on the State Board of Investments where $70 billion in state retirement money is invested. Because of his business acumen and time in the Senate, where he served before he was defeated in 2013, Howe believed he was the strongest candidate.

Howe stopped short of explicitly throwing his support to Severson, saying instead that "I'm going to support the GOP candidates."

"Certainly there are fences to mend and I think that hopefully he'll reach out or his campaign will reach out and we can mend those fences and move on.

Howe said he hopes one day to re-enter politics, saying running again for his Senate seat "is always an option."

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