Well that was short lived. Paul Koering, Minnesota’s gay Republican state senator and the state’s only out legislator, had dreams of living in the Governor’s Mansion as recently as June. But now, he’s given up. And yes, it’s because he’s gay.
After forming an exploratory committee to examine his chances at a campaign, the two-term legislator says it became clear his sexuality would remain the ultimate scarlet letter: “The reading from potential delegates is that they could not get past the fact I’m gay. That’s very sad, but it’s true.”
This, despite excellent marks from organizations valued by Republican voters: the Minnesota Citizens For Life (which gave him a 100 percent score), the National Rifle Association (also 100 percent), and the Minnesota Taxpayer’s League (he’s on the Top 10 list of anti-tax legislators).
But what if he made a run for governor on the Democratic ticket? Sorry, that’s not going to happen. Says Koering: “I align with conservatives on almost everything. If I were straight man with a wife and eight children these same people would want me to run for president.”
And now, it appears that his third term as senator could even be in jeopardy. Koering (pictured, with colleague Dallas Sams in his lap) only public acknowledged his sexuality after voting “no” on then-State Sen. Michele Bachmann’s gay marriage ban, and reporters came asking. And you can guess, predictably, how his political allies and donors feel about it.
Then again, just because Koering is gay doesn’t mean he’s our biggest ally: He opted not to vote for a bill that would’ve made Minnesota’s marriage laws gender neutral. Which means: He doesn’t want to ban same-sex marriage, but he doesn’t want it legalized, either. Huh. Politics strategy nonsense, no doubt.