Oct 17, 2011

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Karger first Candidate to File in Person for Primary

Campaign staffer for Paul Files Papers Earlier

Posted: 1039am EDT October 17, 2011

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CONCORD, N.H. — Republican Fred Karger, who said he is the first openly gay presidential candidate, signed his name and wrote “Equality for All!” on a keepsake poster Monday as he formally put his name on the ballot for New Hampshire’s yet-to-be scheduled presidential primary.

Karger, a longtime GOP operative from California who has been campaigning in New Hampshire for close to two years, was the first candidate to show up in person when the filing period opened Monday. But Ron Paul filed first by proxy, sending a staffer who quietly signed him up just after 8 a.m.

Karger showed up with a campaign sign, an oversized mock check and a real check to pay the $1,000 filing fee. He signed the filing paperwork and was the first candidate to scrawl a message on a poster that later will get reprinted in the state’s “red book,” a compilation of election results and political history.

“The fact that I’m here today in the secretary of state’s office with Secretary Gardner, signing up and paying the filing fee to be in the New Hampshire primary is hugely significant for me personally, and for millions of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered Americans who are looking for hope and looking for the opportunity to live their lives honestly,” he said.

Four years ago, a Minnesota fugitive living in Italy beat a costume-wearing ex-convict to become the first to file as an official candidate in the 2008 New Hampshire presidential primary. Jack Shepard’s courier package from Rome beat Robert Haines’ hand-delivered, incomplete petitions and $1,000 credit check to be the first accepted by the secretary of state. It took Haines more than 90 minutes to turn in his papers, after he embarked first on a loud and erratic one-man show that included five costume changes, multiple characters and cursing.

The current filing period runs through Oct. 28. Gardner set the filing period earlier than usual in response to crowding by other states. He has said early December is a realistic option for the New Hampshire primary unless Nevada officials move their caucus back. Gardner said Monday he is unlikely to announce the primary date this week.

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