Nonprofit, nonpartisan journalism. Supported by readers.


After primary defeat, Brainerd’s Koering says he’s through with GOP and quitting politics

Two-term Republican state Sen.

Two-term Republican state Sen. Paul Koering of Brainerd, who lost his party’s endorsement and then was defeated in Tuesday’s primary election, says he’s through with politics and through with the Republican Party.

He told the Advocate, a gay news organization:

“The party that I’ve called home for 14 years has kind of, in essence, went off the cliff. 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.”

Koering was beaten Tuesday — by about 57 to 43 —- by former state Rep. Paul Gazelka, who had the party’s endorsement.

Article continues after advertisement

Koering now says he’s supporting the DFL candidate, Taylor Stevenson, in the Nov. 2 general election.

Koering had upset party leaders by occasionally voting against party lines during his eight years in the Legislature. And then there was much publicity over his dinner with a male adult film star. Koering is gay.

Republicans likely won’t worry much about Koering’s defection.

After the June dinner date, state Republican Chair Tony Sutton issued this statement:

“Instead of focusing his efforts on job creation and the betterment of Senate District 12, Paul Koering has demonstrated incredibly poor judgment by spending time with an escort and pornographic film star. With his campaign message of lower taxes, sensible government and economic development, Paul Gazelka is the right leader for Senate District 12, and the Republican Party of Minnesota stands united behind his candidacy.”