Republican state Sen. Karin Housley announced Tuesday that she won’t seek a rematch against Democrat Tina Smith for U.S. Senate in 2020.
Housley, who lost to Smith by double digits in 2018, has been publicly mulling another U.S. Senate bid for months. But on Tuesday, the St. Marys Point Republican said that she ultimately decided to run for re-election in the state Senate instead.
“I love our communities and I love Minnesota — and I’m proud of what we’ve accomplished in the past seven years,” Housley tweeted. “I’m excited to continue that work.”
In an interview with Minnesota Public Radio, Housley, 55, cited as a factor husband Phil Housley’s recent hire as coach for the Arizona Coyotes.
“I want to have a family life. That campaigning is hard,” she told MPR News. “Living in D.C. isn’t that appealing when my family is here in Minnesota and my husband is in Arizona.”
Republicans are still looking for a formidable challenger to Smith, a former lieutenant governor who was appointed to the seat in early 2018 after former DFL Sen. Al Franken resigned in the wake of sexual misconduct allegations. Former GOP Rep. Jason Lewis and attorney general candidate Doug Wardlow are among the candidates reportedly still mulling a run. Lewis, who is also considering a bid for U.S. House, told the Star Tribune last month that he will make a decision in early fall.
While the U.S. Senate race will be a top priority for both parties, Housley’s re-election bid for state legislature will also be a closely watched campaign. The DFL plans to target her seat in its effort to win back a majority in the state Senate. Several challengers have already emerged.