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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