Why Losing the GOP Primary Has MN Sen. Paul Koering Fleeing Politics (And the GOP)

Having lost yesterday’s Republican primary, openly gay Minnesota Sen. Paul Koering says his political career is over after serving two terms. Does it have anything to do with his porn star date?

Koering lost to Paul Gazelka, who now heads to the general election. But Gazelka insists he didn’t engage in any negative campaigning against Koering, especially with his decision to take adult performer Brandon Wilde out to dinner; Gazelka appears to be telling the truth. But Koering isn’t just done with politics. He’s done with the Republican party.

Koering begrudges the Minnesota GOP for asking local sheriffs for his law-enforcement records in July. He said the state GOP is imposing an increasingly exclusionary “purification process” on members.

“The party that I’ve called home for 14 years has kind of, in essence, went off the cliff,” Koering said. “I always tried to stay with the party to hopefully be a voice of reason within the party. But I found through this campaign that that doesn’t work anymore.”

But one thing the St. Cloud Times doesn’t mention in Koering’s defeat is the porn star controversy. Koering, who dropped out of Minnesota’s governor’s race because he found his sexuality stood in the way of GOP support, unintentionally gave the ultimate middle finger to the state’s staunch social conservatives, who might have tolerated Koering’s sexual “preferences,” but couldn’t stand for him so, ahem, flagrantly dating a man who has sex on camera for money. (To be fair, it was Wilde who first spoke publicly about the date; Koering confirmed it.)

So there goes a gay politician running from a Republican party that wouldn’t have him. Inclusivity abounds!