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.