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A woman running for governor might be just what Minnesota GOP needs

December 3, 2017 GMT

Mary Giuliani Stephens, the Republican mayor of Woodbury, announced last week at a well-attended kickoff that shes running for governor. Despite a little understandable nervousness, she was well prepared and showed herself to be a decent orator. The first female candidate is mayor of a fast-growing suburb, at a time Republicans should be desperate to appeal to suburban women.

Theres no reason to think Giuliani Stephens cant be a contender and run strong in the fall election. Her response to a question about President Donald Trumps style was particularly inventive: I wasnt raised that way. Its insulting while remaining ambiguously civil and Minnesota nice about the leader of her party.

Giuliani Stephens said she will abide by the GOP endorsement, meaning she wont run in a primary if she doesnt prevail at the convention. Lets see if she can start rounding up delegates and organize before the February caucus.

AG race

St. Paul City Attorney Sam Clark, who was state director for Sen. Amy Klobuchar, filed for the attorney general race last week with the campaign finance board. But he told me hes still merely considering a run and will make a decision in the coming weeks. The DFL attorney general race is really shaping up to be interesting. Former state Rep. Ryan Winkler raised a respectable amount of money in 2016, while state Rep. Debra Hilstrom has been working DFL activists for months. Mike Rothman, who recently resigned as Commerce commissioner, is a longtime DFL Party man also running.

The Republican candidate for the office, which his party hasnt held in more than half a century, is former state Rep. Doug Wardlow.

Nolans chances

U.S. Rep. Rick Nolan is the most vulnerable Democrat in the country, according to Cook Political Report. His GOP opponent Pete Stauber may have missed an opportunity endorsing the tax bill that came out of the House recently, when he could have said the bill should offer more relief to the working people of the Eighth District. Expect Nolan to make it a centerpiece of a contrast campaign.

Tax bill pledge?

Former Gov. Arne Carlson isnt much of a Republican these days, but it is still interesting that he and Walter Mondale released a joint statement on the GOP tax bill, demanding members declare their candidacy for re-election before voting on the bill.

J. Patrick Coolican 651-925-5042 patrick.coolican@startribune.com Twitter: @jpcoolican