Marked man: candidates line up to take on Stenglein

Hennepin County Commissioner Mark Stenglein could be facing a tough re-election campaign next year. The three-term independent Hennepin County Commissioner, who unsuccessfully ran for mayor of Minneapolis in 2001, has drawn several potentially strong opponents.

Former state legislator Gregory Gray is definitely in the race. He's been raising money and seeking support from DFL'ers for months now. "I've known Mark for a long time," says Gray. "I don't have any personal animosity for him. He's a decent guy. I just disagree with him on a lot of the issues."

But Gray might not be the only formidable DFL'er to contest the race. State Sen. Linda Higgins, who chairs the state and local government operations committee, is also contemplating a run for the post. "It's past time for me to make a decision," says Higgins, noting that she'll make a call by the end of the year.

And one other renowned politico is rumored to be contemplating a run: lame duck Minneapolis City Council member Natalie Johnson Lee. (She didn't immediately return a call seeking comment.)

Stenglein professes to be unconcerned by the competition. "I've got 2,000 lawn signs," he says. "I've got to do something with them."

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