– Secretary of State Steve Simon set the tone as the DFL state convention began Friday, aiming fire at Republicans and President Donald Trump after winning the party’s first endorsement.

After he was endorsed by acclamation for a second term, Simon said some Republicans are “driven by ego and dripping with contempt for the rule of law.”

He reminded delegates that he refused a request for voters’ personal information for Trump’s now-disbanded voter integrity commission: “I thought about it for about two seconds and I said no way.”

Simon also criticized the GOP-controlled Legislature for refusing to release $1.5 million in federal funds to enhance cybersecurity.

In an interview, he described a second-term agenda.

“I’d like to see us adopt true early voting,” he said. “I’d like to see us have preregistration for high-school students, automatic voter registration for everyone else.” He would allow former prisoners to vote.

John Howe, a former Red Wing mayor and state senator, is unopposed for the GOP nod Saturday in Duluth.

Nod to the past

Simon, U.S. Sens. Amy Klobuchar and Tina Smith, and Smith challenger Richard Painter all cited the late U.S. Sen. Paul Wellstone.

“The only way to change is to vote,” Simon quotedthe Minnesota Democrat, who died in 2002. Klobuchar also repeated a Wellstone quote, saying, “I don’t think politics has anything to do with left, right, or center. It has to do with trying to do right by people.”

She also mentioned former U.S. Sen. Al Franken, the Minnesota Democrat who resigned last year amid allegations of sexual misconduct. “His work will live on,” she said.

Judy Keen