Former Woodbury Mayor Mary Guiliani Stephens to challenge DFL Sen. Susan Kent in swing district

    State Sen. Susan Kent, DFL-Woodbury, is facing a new Republican opponent for her senate district seat: former Woodbury Mayor Mary Giuliani Stephens. 

    Kent, who is two days away from challenging DFL Senate Minority Leader Tom Bakk for caucus leader, now faces a formidable opponent in a swing district she won by fewer than 400 votes during her 2016 re-election.

    The timing of Stephens’ announcement could create a new dynamic in the leadership race, as Senate Democrats must now consider how much attention Kent can pay to caucus matters and the 2020 election when her own seat is on the line. 

    In 2016, then-Republican Minority Leader David Hann lost his seat even as he helped vault the caucus into the majority.

    Stephens, who made a gubernatorial run in 2018, served as councilmember and mayor of Woodbury from 2007 to 2019, running unopposed in 2014. The senate district includes the cities of Woodbury, Landfall, and parts of Maplewood and Oakdale.

    “There are many challenges facing the families of Washington and Ramsey Counties, especially in healthcare, safe and clean water, transportation and education — and my experience as a mom, mayor, lawyer and business person will be put to good use in the Minnesota state Senate,” Stephens said.



    Ricardo Lopez
    Ricardo Lopez is the senior political reporter for the Reformer. Ricardo is not new to Minnesota politics, previously reporting on the Dayton administration and statehouse for The Star Tribune from 2014 to 2017, and the Republican National Convention in 2016. Previously, he was a staff writer at The Los Angeles Times covering the California economy. He's a Las Vegas native who has adopted Minnesota as his home state. In his spare time, he likes to run, cook and volunteer with Save-a-Bull, a Minneapolis dog rescue group.