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Simon holds 10-point Wednesday lead over Trump-backed Crockett in Minnesota secretary of state's race

Seeking his third consecutive term as the secretary of state, Simon ran his campaign working to dispel myths seeking to erode trust in Minnesota’s election system, including doubts stirred up by Republican challenger Kim Crockett.

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Secretary of State Steve Simon, left, and Kim Crockett are seen in this composite photo.
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ST. PAUL — An early lead for Democratic incumbent Steve Simon held on through the overnight, as he now leads Trump-backed Republican challenger Kim Crockett in the Minnesota secretary of state's race by a margin of roughly 10 points Wednesday morning.

As of 9:08 a.m. Wednesday, Nov. 9, Simon held a sizable lead, collecting 54.5% of the nearly 2.5 million ballots cast compared to Crockett's 45.4% share. The lead narrowed from late Tuesday, with Simon tallying a 58.5% of the vote to Crockett's 41.5% as of 11:18 p.m. Tuesday.

Seeking his third consecutive term as the secretary of state — which oversees election and business dealings within the state — Simon ran his campaign working to dispel myths seeking to erode trust in Minnesota’s election system, including doubts stirred up by Crockett.

In an Oct. 2 debate, which aired on WCCO , Simon affirmed his trust in the accuracy of the then-upcoming election, noting that he would accept the results of the Nov. 8 election. Crockett, however, referred to the moderator’s question as “odd,” adding that she’ll “have to see what happens” until the results are certified.

She later clarified that her comment was meant to imply that “a lot could happen” in the last five weeks of the race, and that she would accept the results if no recount is necessary.

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Endorsed by former President Donald Trump on Oct. 25 , Crockett has repeatedly called into question the outcome of the 2020 election, calling it “rigged” due in part to Minnesotans’ access to absentee ballots during the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Crockett’s campaign website specifically claimed that Simon was against making it “hard for voters to cheat” when casting their ballots. Calling her claims “dangerous” and “outlandish,” Simon vowed to push back against “dangerous disinformation.”

In the 2020 presidential election, Minnesota sent out 2.2 million absentee ballots — roughly triple those sent out in the 2016 presidential election. Of those, approximately 20,000 (less than 1%) were rejected by the election officials.

Despite this, Crockett’s largest criticism of Simon’s tenure as secretary of state was his initiatives to expand access to absentee ballots. Leading up to the 2020 election, Simon made a move that stripped a requirement for a witness signature to be included on absentee ballots, while also accepting ballots received after Election Day.

Minnesota’s 8th Circuit Court of Appeals later ruled Simon’s moves unconstitutional, noting that his action was taken without approval of the state’s Legislature.

In a hotly contested race for an office held by DFLers since 2007, Simon and Crockett were neck-and-neck heading into Election Day.

In a mid-September poll from Star Tribune and KARE 11, Simon led Crockett by just 48% to 40%. Later that month, an Alpha News/Trafalgar Group poll found the pair within 1 percentage point of each other. Just one month out from the election, on Oct. 6, Simon led Crockett by just two percentage points with 18% still undecided in a KSTP/Survey USA poll.

Though the winner of the neck-and-neck race will not be confirmed until the results are formally certified, the winner will serve as secretary of state for a term of four years. In Minnesota’s fiscal year 2021, the secretary of state earned $98,327.88.

A South Dakota native, Hunter joined Forum Communications Company as a reporter for the Mitchell (S.D.) Republic in June 2021. After over a year in Mitchell, he moved to Milwaukee, where he now works as a digital reporter for Forum News Service, focusing on regional news that impacts the Dakotas, Minnesota and Wisconsin.
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