Openly gay state Senator Paul Koering is eyeing the possibility of a run for governor in Minnesota, the Minnesota Independent reported.

Koering, a Republican, told the Pioneer Press last week that he's considering throwing his hat into the contest, after learning that moderate Republican Governor Tim Pawlenty will not run for a third term.

The forty-four-year-old politician said he is “forming an exploratory committee and will be talking to state party leaders, delegates and community leaders to gauge the possibility of a 2010 gubernatorial run.”

Amid a heated debate on a state constitutional ban on gay marriage In 2005, Koering fessed up to long-standing rumors about being gay.

A pro-lifer, Koering raised eyebrows in February when he announced he would not support a gay marriage bill, despite having voted against then-State Senator Michele Bachmann's anti gay marriage amendment in 2005.

Koering said his record over the past seven years shows he can work effectively with both parties.

“I have the ability to work with what is right now a Democratically controlled legislature,” he told the Morrison County Record. “But the first hurdle is to convince enough delegates that I would be the right guy.”

About 45 politicians, including anti-gay U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann, are considering running for the job.