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Daughter: Candidate for Duluth seat abandoned her

DULUTH — The daughter of the leading Democratic write-in candidate for the seat of a disgraced Duluth lawmaker is coming forward to say her father abandoned her when she was 2.

The Duluth News Tribune reported Wednesday that Erik Simonson confirmed that he hasn't seen his 20-year-old daughter, Leah Simonson, in 18 years. Erik Simonson told the paper he has paid child support and health care bills.

Leah Simonson says her father was wrong to cut off contact with her.

Erik Simonson, Duluth's assistant fire chief, is the only Democrat seeking his party's endorsement on Saturday.

He has the backing of prominent Duluth Democrats after the incumbent, Democratic Rep. Kerry Gauthier, dropped out. Gauthier had a sexual encounter with a 17-year-old at a highway rest stop in July.

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