Two-term state Sen. Paul Koering, R-Fort Ripley, said he is no longer a Republican after losing Tuesday’s GOP primary, and he’s backing the DFL-endorsed candidate to replace him in the Legislature.
In a story in the St. Cloud Times, Koering said he is backing DFL candidate Taylor Stevenson in the election. He doesn’t think former state Rep. Paul Gazelka, who defeated Koering with about 57 percent of the vote, can work well with DFLers to serve the people of the central Minnesota district.
“I just don’t think he’s going to be able to deliver for the area,” Koering said. “If anybody is just a little bit different than he is, I just don’t know that they’re going to be very welcomed.”
He continued to say the Republican Party “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,” he told the paper.
The race for the district has been heated since Koering opted to skip the party’s endorsement process and run on his own. Things only got worse when it was reported that Koering, the only openly gay Republican in the Legislature, dined with a gay porn star. The Republican Party had been digging into Koering’s financial and law enforcement records throughout the campaign to unearth something to use against him.
In fact, the race may have taken Koering out of the political picture for good. He told the St. Cloud Times that his “political days are over.”