Former state senator who sued city of Austin withdraws from campaign

Published 11:19 am Friday, June 6, 2014

A former state senator who sued the city of Austin last year withdrew from the secretary of state race.

After failing to win endorsement at the Republican state convention last weekend, former state Sen. John Howe of Red Wing on Thursday formally withdrew as a candidate for Minnesota secretary of state.

Howe was one of three property owners to successfully challenge the city of Austin’s $15,000 sewer assessment on former Lansing Township property in 2013. Mower County District Judge Donald Rysavy overturned the $15,000-per-parcel assessments to Howe and two other property owners in March of 2013.

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Last April, Howe sought $2.3 million in punitive damages from the city of Austin after the appeal.

The three property owners hold land that was part of the 209.5 parcels of land annexed into Austin in 2009 to get connected to the city’s sewer system.

Howe’s withdrawal from the race means former state Rep. Dan Severson of Sauk Rapids, the GOP endorsee for that office, will be unopposed in the Aug. 12 primary election.

Howe said he withdrew because he told Republican Party officials that he would honor the party’s endorsement.

—The Associated Press contributed to this report.