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MN: Out gay conservative Republican fends off challenger

Paul Koering won the GOP primary for the State Senate District 12 seat, 3956 to 3270 votes. He faced Kevin Goedker, a Brainerd businessman and city council member who ran on a “values” campaign. (100% of precincts reporting).

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Minnesota’s only openly gay Republican legislator, Sen. Paul Koering of Fort Ripley, fended off attacks from anti-gay marriage groups Tuesday and won a hard-fought primary election against Brainerd City Council Member Kevin Goedker, who campaigned as a family-values candidate.

In one of the most closely watched of 20 legislative primary contests in the state, Twin Cities-based Minnesota Citizens in Defense of Marriage had leafletted cars at Brainerd-area churches Sunday to publicize Koering’s failure to vote three years ago on a floor amendment to prohibit the promotion or teaching of homosexuality and bisexuality in public schools.

Goedker said Koering’s sexual orientation, which Koering publicly revealed last year, wasn’t the issue, but rather his votes on gay rights, taxes, the minimum wage and other conservative concerns.

Koering disputed that.

“This campaign has reached an all-time low,” he said. “They threw everything they had at me. But I think this is a real vote of confidence.”

As I said in another post on Koering, who’s otherwise quite conservative. There’s no doubt why the vote was that close, though Minnesotans did decide to pick ideology over sexual orientation.

Overall, that is healthy for the political process, and should further discombobulate the Freepi (nothing was up at the time of posting).

Hat tip, Eva.

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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding