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Cheryl Renée Stephens (née Adler; born December 8, 1948) is the senior Senator for Huron, serving since 2003 along with fellow Democrat Hugh McNee. Prior to serving as Senator, Stephens was the Attorney General of Huron from 1989 to 1993, and was Huron's first female Governor from 1995 to 1999. Considered a rising star in Democratic circles, she was given a major speaking slot at the 1992 Democratic National Convention and was the keynote speaker at the 1996 Democratic Convention. Stephens ran in the 2000 Democratic Presidential primaries as a socially liberal, budget-balancing centrist, placing first in the Huron, Michigan and Nebraska primaries to gain early momentum, but eventually lost to similarly positioned Ohio Governor John Tanner.
Stephens was considered a potential Attorney General in a James Carrey or Jay Leno regime during the 2004 elections, but she was not offered or ever vetted for such a job following Leno's electoral victory that fall. She is considered a potential candidate to become Attorney General once again should Carrey win the 2012 Presidential election.
2002 Senate Campaign
In early 2001, Stephens announced that she would seek the Democratic nomination for the Senate in 2002 to face incumbent first-term Senator Mike Harris, who had narrowly won the election to succeed longtime Senator Robert F. Nixon (1979-1997) as Senator. She defeated U.S. Rep. Sandra Pupatello in the Democratic primary in what local media derogatorily referred to as "the Senate catfight." During the fall campaign against Senator Harris, she was attacked for her record as Governor, with Harris referring to her as "too liberal for Huron," and she in turn ran what was viewed as a negative campaign against Harris, in particular an infamous commercial featuring three women steeply criticizing Harris. She campaigned heavily along with outgoing Huron Governor Jim Carrey and narrowly won in the closest election of the 2002 cycle, defeating Harris by only 0.7% of the vote in the same election that Pat Mead was elected Governor by a 9% margin.
2008 Senate Campaign
Stephens was a prime target for the Nationalists in 2008, with favorite son Pat Mead as the party's nominee. She faced U.S. Rep. Jim Flaherty, whom she defeated by 6% despite Mead's presence on the ticket. Her victory marked the first loss for Flaherty in his career.