ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) - A political newcomer hoping to make Minnesota history is pressing ahead with his bid for an open secretary of state post.

Republican Dennis Nguyen was gathering family, friends and supporters Sunday at the Capitol to make his formal campaign announcement. He is the first GOP candidate in the race. If he were to be elected, he would be the first Asian-American candidate to win statewide in Minnesota.

Current Secretary of State Mark Ritchie, a Democrat, is stepping down after two terms as the chief elections officer.

Democratic legislators Debra Hilstrom and Steve Simon are vying for their party's nomination.

In October, Nguyen formed a committee to raise money toward a campaign. He heads two Minneapolis-based financial services firms. He lives in Minneapolis.