Newsy: “Openly Gay GOPer Probing 2012 Presidential Run”

Nov 26, 2010

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Openly Gay GOPer Probing 2012 Presidential Run

November 26, 2010


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Fred Karger would be the first gay candidate to run for president from a major political party.

(Image source: Windy City Media Group)

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A little more than a month after midterm election campaign ads went off the air — Iowa voters are getting a taste of 2012 with the first TV spot from a 2012 presidential hopeful.

KARGER: “I’m concerned that the partisan rancor is only going to continue and get in the way of our country’s progress. I learned from my mentor Ronald Reagan the importance of getting along. … I’m Fred Karger. I’m an independent Republican.” (Fred Karger Presidential Exploratory Committee)

Fred Karger is an openly gay Republican who says he’s seriously considering a 2012 presidential run. If he does — he’d be the first openly gay candidate to run for president from a major political party.

It may sound a little early to be kicking off a potential campaign — but for a dark horse candidate with almost no name recognition — Sunshine State News says he needs a running start.

“…Karger tapped Nathan Treloar to serve as his director in Iowa. [Treloar] …has more than a decade of experience … working as communications director of the Republican Party of Iowa.”

Karger says he’s looking to raise $5 million and has worked on the campaigns of presidents Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush and Gerald Ford. Still – The Iowa Independent calls him a long-shot candidate.

“He has never served in elected office… He is also openly gay, and has worked as an activist to support efforts for same-sex marriage in California, and opposed that state’s Proposition 8 measure.”

KARGER: “I spent a lifetime working with a supporting Republicans and Democrats, a value that has only been reinforced in my fight for civil rights.” (Karger campaign ad)

Karger has been a vocal supporter of gay rights — calling out the Mormon Church for its support of a 2008 ballot measure in California to ban same-sex marriage. And a writer for Care2 says — running with an “R” behind his name is likely to be a challenge.

“With a party who just filibustered Don’t As Don’t Tell legislation and consistently campaigns against same sex marriage, ‘redefining the Republican Party’ would likely be an understatement.”

If Karger runs — he’ll likely face a growing crowd of high-profile contenders with better name recognition. But Charleston City Paper’s Greg Hambrick says — Karger’s run would force his opponents to clarify their positions on an issue he cares a lot about.

“A debate would not only challenge the anti-gay positions of likely candidates like former Sen. Rick Santorum, Rep. Mike Pence, and former Gov. Mike Huckabee, but it would put frontrunners like former Govs. Mitt Romney and Sarah Palin on the record regarding equal rights.”

Karger says he knows he faces an uphill battle — but he told Radio Iowa he’s a “fighter.”

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New York Times: “Gay ‘Progressive’ Republican on Air in Iowa”

Nov 24, 2010



November 24, 2010, 6:10 pm

Gay ‘Progressive’ Republican on Air in Iowa


For link to story, Click Here

It’s never too early to test the waters – especially for an openly gay “progressive” Republican trying to snag the party’s 2012 presidential nomination.

Fred Karger, a long-time political operative who was a campaign aide to Ronald Reagan, has already started broadcasting campaign advertisements in Iowa and New Hampshire.

In a 90-second spot that will run twice daily on Fox News throughout Iowa for a week, Mr. Karger calls himself an “independent Republican” and says he is “testing the waters in Iowa to see if I can raise some funds from my friends.”


Mr. Karger, 60, has never held elected office and acknowledges that he does not have much of a shot at winning his party’s nod. Instead, his goal is to make history as the first openly gay presidential candidate for a major party.

“My overriding goal is to be a participant in those Republican debates,” he said in an interview on Wednesday. “I need to start early.”

But Mr. Karger is hardly a political neophyte. He worked alongside the famed Republican strategist, Lee Atwater, to derail Michael Dukakis’s 1988 presidential campaign against George H.W. Bush. He was an outspoken critic of the Mormon Church for backing the 2008 ballot measure outlawing same-sex marriage in California. The liberal magazine Mother Jones described Mr. Karger as one of the G.O.P’s “top dark-arts operators” in a profile last spring.

Mr. Karger has already run a one-minute television ad in New Hampshire for a week in September. The two ad buys cost him about $1,000 each – pocket change by most campaign’s standards; in return, Mr. Karger gets some face time in the two states that play key roles early in the primary season.

Mr. Karger has been busy for a long-shot single-issue candidate. He announced his interest in running for president in April and established an exploratory committee three months later. Since then he has made 14 trips to New Hampshire or Iowa and now employs two full-time campaign aides.

Between divisions within the Republican Party and President Obama’s failure to deliver on promises to the gay community, Mr. Karger said “the time is right.”


Fox News: “Republican and Gay-Rights Activist Gears Up for a Presidential Run”

Nov 24, 2010

Take a look at this article on Fox News regarding the Fred Karger Presidential Exploratory Committee:

fox news

Republican and Gay-Rights Activist Gears up for a Presidential Run

by Kristin Brown

For link to article, Click Here

The ink is barely dry on the midterm election ballots, but the 2012 presidential campaign is already officially underway. One Republican has launched an exploratory committee, released a presidential campaign ad, and even paid a visit to Iowa, the first state to hold a presidential caucus every election. That Republican is Fred Karger.

Fred who, you ask?

That’s exactly why he’s starting so early. Nobody knows who he is.

Karger is a former aide to President Ronald Reagan and describes himself as an “independent Republican.” He’s also openly gay, and his platform mostly centers around gay-rights issues, like ending the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” military policy and legalizing gay marriage. Karger founded “Californians Against Hate,” a group that encouraged Californians to vote against Proposition 8, which effectively banned gay marriage in the state. Proposition 8 passed in 2008.

Karger released his presidential campaign ad this week, in which he’s seen strolling through what appears to be an Iowa fair – introducing himself, shaking hands, handing out frisbees, and generally trying to spread his name around.

“Before I run for president, I need your help,” Karger says in the ad. “I’m testing the waters in Iowa to see if I can raise some funds from my friends.”

Karger faces a steep challenge indeed – without name recognition, fundraising for a presidential campaign will likely prove daunting. Although he worked as a political consultant for years, Karger has never held elected office – but paints himself as a “true outsider” trying to change the system.

“I’m concerned that the partisan rancor’s only going to continue and get in the way of our country’s progress,” he says in the ad.


The Advocate: “Gay Republican Airs 2012 Ad in Iowa”

Nov 24, 2010


Gay Republican Airs 2012 Ad in Iowa

By Julie Bolcer

For link to story, Click Here

Fred Karger, a gay Republican and former consultant to President Ronald Reagan, is running an ad in Iowa to generate support for a potential 2012 presidential bid.

The first presidential ad to run in Iowa, home of the all-important first caucuses, the 90-second spot positions Karger as an independent-minded Republican, according to CBS News. The network cited The Atlantic, which reported that his ad would air twice a day on Fox News for one week throughout the state as the candidate seeks to raise $5 million.

Known for his work to disclose Proposition 8 donors through his group Californians against hate, Karger has acknowledged the difficulties he may face as a gay Republican, reports CBS News.

“As I look at the Republican Party membership here (in Iowa) and I’ve seen polls, you know, 80 percent self-identify evangelical, and I don’t know how open they are initially to an openly gay candidate if I do decide to run,” he said.