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Karin Housley won't challenge Tina Smith for the Senate. Who might?

The state senator stated Tuesday she would instead seek re-election in her district.

Minnesota state Sen. Karin Housley (R-Saint Mary’s Point) won’t take another shot at the Senate. Following her defeat to Democratic Sen. Tina Smith in a special election to fill former Sen. Al Franken’s seat, Housley announced on Twitter Tuesday she will not run again. 

Housley will instead seek re-election for her state seat, which represents Forest Lake, Stillwater and the surrounding St. Croix Valley. Housley was first elected to the office in 2012.

“I love our communities and I love Minnesota — and I’m proud of what we’ve accomplished in the past seven years,” Housley wrote in a statement on Twitter. “I’m excited to continue that work.”

With a full six-year term on the ballot in 2020, Housley was considered a potential challenger to Smith. Instead, the state senator will start a “new chapter” in her life, which includes her husband, children and grandchildren, she stated.

Last session, Housley made preventing elder abuse in assisted living facilities a priority, authoring legislation establishing new licensing requirements for nursing homes and a bill of rights for elders. This legislation passed with bipartisan support.

With Housley officially out of the race, here are the other potential Republican challengers:

Jason Lewis: The Republican was ousted from Minnesota’s 2nd Congressional District by Rep. Angie Craig in 2018, but now Lewis may take on Smith for the Senate. Lewis told Fox 9 he would decide on whether to run by this fall. Now working as a talk radio host, the former Congressman has been vocal about his support for President Donald Trump.

Doug Wardlow: A candidate in one of the more controversial Minnesota races in 2018, Wardlow eventually lost his bid for state attorney general to Keith Ellison. Wardlow’s comments that he would fire DFL attorneys if elected despite stating he was a nonpolitical candidate drew sharp criticism. The Republican also saw backlash for his opposition to gay marriage. According to MPR, Wardlow is now considering a run for Senate.

Bill Guidera: The former 21st Century Fox executive, who lives in Minnesota, has been active in Republican politics for several years. Per MPR, Guidera is also considering a bid. 

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