ROCHESTER (AP) — A former Sauk Rapids legislator is the Minnesota Republican Party's choice for an open secretary of state's race.

Ex-Rep. Dan Severson grabbed the GOP endorsement Friday at the state party convention after another former lawmaker exited the race.

State Sen. John Howe withdrew before the first ballot was announced.

Incumbent Secretary of State Mark Ritchie isn't running again. Democrats expect to settle on a candidate Saturday at the Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party convention in Duluth in a race that features two sitting legislators.

Severson argues that Minnesota has a "corrupt election system" and told delegates it is "time for a conservative secretary of state."

The secretary of state's office has been pivotal in recent elections. It has overseen back-to-back recounts in races for U.S. Senate and governor. The office also has business registration duties.