Fred Karger, openly gay Republican presidential candidate, ends campaign


Fred Karger (R) poses with former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich at a Hillsborough County Republican Committee meeting in Nashua, NH, on Jan. 6, 2012.


Matthew Cavanaugh

Fred Karger, an openly gay Republican strategist who said he was running for president to encourage gay young people to pursue their dreams, has ended his campaign, the Los Angeles Times reported.

Karger spent two-and-a-half years campaigning across the country, but did not win a single delegate or a spot in any presidential debate, the LA Times reported. His spent $500,000 of his own money on his quest.

According to Slate, Karger won just 10,276 votes across all primaries. That’s far less than the 104,801 votes Democratic presidential candidate Lyndon LaRouche captured in his last bid for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2004, Slate noted.

"It's been one hell of a ride, and I want to thank the thousands of people across this country who volunteered, contributed, opened their homes, came to our events and cheered me on,” Karger said in an email to supporters, the LA Times reported. “Special thanks to the thousands more who shared their stories with me in person, via email, facebook, twitter, etc. Every one of you kept me going.”

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Karger worked for US Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush, California Gov. George Deukmejian and companies like Philip Morris, the LA Times reported. He came out publicly in 2006, after he retired.

Slate noted that Karger’s presidential bid was not taken seriously by gay Republican activists. According to Slate:

GOProud, the press-savvy gay Republican group, took pains to criticize a campaign that, by taking up the libertation label, made it look like gay rights were hopelessly marginalized inside the party.

But Chris Barron, co-founder of GOProud, told Slate that Karger had accomplished something. "I don't think he was ever running for President, I think he was running to prove a point and to make a statement,” Barron said. “It's fair to say that he succeeded in doing both."

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