Mary Giuliani Stephens, the Republican mayor of Woodbury, announced last week at a well-attended kickoff that she’s 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.

There’s no reason to think Giuliani Stephens can’t be a contender and run strong in the fall election. Her response to a question about President Donald Trump’s style was particularly inventive: “I wasn’t raised that way.” It’s 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 won’t run in a primary if she doesn’t prevail at the convention. Let’s 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 he’s 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 hasn’t held in more than half a century, is former state Rep. Doug Wardlow.

Nolan’s 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 isn’t 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.