DFL Rep. Tina Liebling said today she is seriously considering a run for the Minnesota Senate.
If redistricting results in a Senate district that is mostly contained within the city of Rochester and she lives within the district, Liebling said she plans to run for the seat.
"I feel that Rochester needs strong, effective representation in the Senate," she said. "The GOP has not been strong and out front working for Rochester, and we really need that."
This sets up the potential for a DFL endorsement battle. Rochester attorney Ken Moen announced last fall he was running for the Senate seat. Moen said he has no plans to drop out of the race if Liebling decides to run.
"It's not changing anything I do," he said. "My hope would have been that she would use her seniority and stay in the House. If she chooses not to that it is her choice and may be our loss as a party."
Depending on the new Senate district boundaries, the Democrats would likely be taking on Republican Sen. Carla Nelson. If Liebling did win the party's endorsement, this would be the fourth-time the two had faced off. In 2002, Nelson defeated Liebling and Independence Party candidate Joe Duffy to win the House District 30A seat. Two years later, Liebling beat Nelson. The two faced off again in 2006 and Liebling beat Nelson again.
Nelson won election to the Senate in 2010 after deating DFL Sen. Ann Lynch. She said she would welcome another match up with Liebling.
"Voters will have a great choice before them. There's one person who has solved budget deficits without increasing taxes and another who I think has supported every tax increase that has come before her," Nelson said.