ST. PAUL -- Minnesota Secretary of State Steve Simon declared victory for a second term in office.

The 48-year-old, DFL-endorsed incumbent led over Republican John Howe, 55, and 34-year-old William Denney of the Independence Party.

As of 11:45 p.m. Tuesday night, Nov. 6, results showed Simon with 52 percent of the vote, while Howe had 43 percent and Denney carried 4 percent with about 90 percent of precincts reporting. Simon made a victory speech at DFL headquarters in St. Paul.

In his bid for a second term, Simon campaigned on improving participation in voting. During the campaign, Simon noted how Minnesota was ranked sixth in turnout when he took office and since then, the state has returned to first in the nation.

“I challenged us to get to No. 1, where Minnesota had once been,” Simon told Forum News Service. “We experimented with new approaches, such as non-partisan voter outreach, and we met our goal in 2016, getting No. 1.”

Simon’s Republican challenger in the race was also focused on voting, with a goal of improving election integrity.

“If you’re on the challenged voters list, you need to provide proper identification,” Howe said. “I want to encourage every eligible voter to vote. The key word is eligible. To say we have the highest turnout doesn’t mean we have the best election system.”

The third candidate in the election was Denney, who wanted to bring an outside voice to the office.

“I’d like to say that while I’m endorsed by the Independence Party, I’m a true independent,” Denney told Forum News Service. “In a perfect world, this would be a nonpartisan office.”