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Minnesota Senator 'Forced Into Primary' Because He's Gay

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Minnesota Senator 'Forced Into Primary' Because He's Gay

by 365Gay.com Newscenter Staff

August 31, 2006 - 9:00 pm ET

(Baxter, Minnesota) Minnesota state Sen. Paul Koering ® says sexuality not issues is behind a bitter primary challenge he faces next month.

Koering has the backing of the state GOP but was forced into the primary by Kevin Goedker a Brainerd city council member critical of Koering for voting against a proposed constitutional amendment banning gay marriage.

Goedker says he is not anti-gay but is quick to point out the senator's vote while campaigning for next month's primary.

Koering came out last year after taking criticism for his vote. (story)

"My decision to come out publicly allows me to answer all the questions that need to be answered ... I'm hoping to put all this behind me by the end of the week and resume doing the job that my district is paying me for," Koering said at the time.

In April, Koering and Goedker faced off for the Republican endorsement. Koering won, but it took the support of Senate GOP allies and seven ballots to do it. (story) Dissatisfied with the result Goedker filed papers forcing Koering into the primary.

Koering says his campaign strategy is simple - tell people what he's done in St. Paul since he was elected.

"I'm mindful that I represent everybody, Republicans, Democrats and Independents alike, and that's how I vote. I vote how I think the people in my district want," Koering tells Minnesota Public Radio.

Koering says he voted against the proposed amendment because he objected to the way his party had tried to bypass the Senate's committee process. He said he has maintained all along the issue of gay marriage should be put to voters.

"I have told my constituents when this comes up again in the next legislative session, I'll be voting to put it on the ballot," Koering said.

His district is one of the fastest growing regions in the state and both Koering and Goedker are going door to door drumming up support. Voters go to the polls in the primary on September 12.

©365Gay.com 2006

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