Gay Republican Sen. Koering eyeing governors seat


by Andy Birkey | June 4, 2009 • Sen. Paul Koering, R-Fort Ripley, told the Pioneer Press he’s thinking about jumping into the race for governor in 2010. Koering, a gay man, opened up about his sexual orientation in 2005 during a bitter debate over a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage.

Andy Birkey lives in Minneapolis. He is an LGBT community advocate and blogs on politcial, social, and community issues. Read his blog at Eleventh Avenue South

Koering said he is “forming an exploratory committee and will be talking to state party leaders, delegates, and community leaders to gauge the possibility of a 2010 gubernatorial run.”

Of the other announced GOP candidate, he told PiPress’ Rachel Stassen-Berger that, “I’d don’t [sic] think they have nothing on me. I guess I get worried that if it is just going to be somebody from the metro area, I guess I’d like to see somebody from the rural area put their hat in the ring.”

Koering is a somewhat conservative Republican with strong anti-abortion and gun rights bona fides, but was a supporter of legalizing medical marijuana for terminally ill patients and is against banning same-sex marriage by constitutional amendment, both generally regarded as progressive stances.

He says he can work on both sides of the aisle. “The state is in a critical condition right now,” he said. “We are in need of a chief executive officer who can work across party lines to get through these troubled times.”

Koering is one of a growing list of Republicans looking to take over for Gov. Tim Pawlenty, who announced on Monday he will be not be seeking a third term.

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