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Thursday, May 04, 2006

Paul Koering Gets a Challenge in the Republican Primary

AP wire:

Ron Carey, GOP Party Chair Responds:

May 4
Republican Party of Minnesota Statement on Senate District 12

Republican Party of Minnesota Chairman Ron Carey today issued the following statement following Kevin Goedker's decision to mount a primary challenge to the GOP endorsed candidate, Senator Paul Koering, in Senate District 12.

"Kevin Goedker's decision to run against Senator Paul Koering, the GOP-endorsed candidate in Senate District 12, is greatly disappointing for Republicans who value the endorsement process and seek party unity. The endorsement process was open and fair. I asked Mr. Goedker to respect the decision of local Republican leaders as he had indicated he would do.

"Republican leaders in Senate District 12 have clearly spoken. They chose to support Senator Paul Koering due to his unwavering support of the unborn, as well as his effective voice for the needs of central Minnesota.

"I encourage the citizens of Senate District 12 to vote for Senator Paul Koering in the September 12 primary."

Bryan Clapper from the Lake Country Echo has a very interesting interview with Paul Koering.

"It was surprising...especially with as hard as I worked - with three campaigns in seven years to get here - that these people were ready to dump me overboard. Whatever their reasons were, they seemed pretty shallow and pretty shaky," Koering said. He said he wasn't sure if Goedker would challenge him.

Well now the fix is in, Goedker is challenging Koering.

"I don't know. I guess these folks obviously have a lot of hate in their heart towards me, as I could tell that night," Koering said. "I don't know if Kevin Goedker does personally, but there's a good possibility that he could run."

While Koering considers himself a moderate Republican, he said comments Goedker made that he would offer a more conservative option for Republicans on healthcare, taxes and basic moral and family values were off-base.

"I still can't quite understand what he was talking about with expansion of government healthcare. It almost sounds like he's saying that I'm for universal Canada. I have never said that and I do not support that," Koering said. "What I do support is helping out the vulnerable in society.... I actually support having healthcare for kids from birth to 18 years old.... I'm for taking care of the people in society that can't take care of themselves. Our society is reflective of how we take care of people."

On taxes, Koering said he is proud of the projects he has brought back to his district. "If bringing these projects home that are important to people here makes me a big spender, I guess I am then," Koering said.

On family values, Koering said he has a 100-percent rating from Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life, and wouldn't speculate on what Goedker may have meant by more conservative family values.

"I guess [Kevin Goedker is] going to have to answer that question - I don't know," Koering said. "They certainly can't dispute my record on pro-life issues, but obviously they've got a dispute with something else."

Koering also suggests he would like to eventually run for congress:

A win would not only mean returning to the state Senate for four years, but could push Koering closer to another one of his goals: a possible run for the U.S. House seat currently held by Democratic Rep. Jim Oberstar.

"That's one of my goals. I would like to go to Congress," Koering said. "I think I could do a great job advocating for this area. Now, with the events of the last year, I still would like to do it, but I have to see what my political future holds here. If by chance...I did not get [re-elected], then I would assume that my political career is over, because if the people up here aren't going to vote for me for this election, then I'm never going to make it any further anywhere else."

While Koering is confident he will win in November, he acknowledges that a loss in the election could spell the end of his political career.

"A loss would certainly be hard, because I have done my best, and if my best isn't good enough, that's going to be difficult," Koering said. "But I have a lot of faith in people and I think a lot of people at the end of the day, when they step in the voting booth, will be looking at the job I've done, and they'll say, 'You know what? Paul Koering's done a great job and we don't care about anything else but the job he's doing representing us.'"

This is an excellent interview with Paul Koering. Go read the whole thing.