Fred Karger is Gay, Jewish, Republican, Kinda Awesome and Running for President

Fred Karger is set to become the first openly Gay Republican presidential candidate of all time. Although Karger announced his intent to run in April of 2010 at the Southern Republican Leadership Conference in New Orleans, today is the day that he is officially running because today is the day that he “filed his papers.” In addition to being the first gay ever, he’s also the first GOP candidate to register for 2012.

Karger’s been campaigning, then, for some time now. He’s run TV ads, met with young Republican activists and hit the streets of key primary states Iowa and New Hampshire to lay the groundwork for his 2012 campaign. He needs the grassroots support because — in a situation that honestly simply baffles me — the very party he is pledging to represent in front of the entire United States of America is chock-full of bigots who are going to do their damndest to shut the gay guy out of their debates and events.

Karger’s pet cause? Exposing the Mormon involvement in the Prop 8 campaign. Yup. This guy is on our side, and it’s kinda awesome. More on that in a minute.

Karger at the Premiere of 8: The Mormon Proposition

Firstly, the process of shutting Karger out has already begun. In early March, Karger was deliberately not invited to the first major GOP event for the 2012 election, which was hosted by Ralph Reed’s “Faith and Freedom Coalition” and organized by Conservative Christian activist Steve Scheffler. Newt Gingrich, Ron Paul, pro-marijuana Gary Johnson and John Thune were all invited despite the fact that none of those guys are likely to win the GOP nomination. Karger, much like many earnest young teenage boys all across America, was pretty sure he wasn’t invited to the party because he’s gay.

Karger filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission to investigate Scheffler and The Iowa Faith and Freedom Coalition for violating federal election laws:

In his complaint to the FEC, Karger argues that the Iowa forum, if considered a debate, has used arbitrary criteria for deciding on whom could participate, in violation of explicit rules. If the FEC decides that the event—designed in more of a meet and greet format—isn’t a debate, then Karger says it still violates the ban on corporate contributions because the Iowa Faith and Freedom Coalition would be breaching its nonprofit tax status by endorsing some candidates over others (namely Karger). Because the Iowa forum will be held on March 7, Karger has asked the FEC for an expedited ruling.

This wasn’t the first time Kargar and Scheffler have butted heads —Last May Scheffler wrote Kargar a hideously scathing email:

You don’t care about transparency—you and the radical homosexual community want to harass supporters of REAL marriage. I am the Republican National Committeeman for Iowa. As a private citizen and knowing literally thousands of caucus goers, I will work overtime to help ensure that your political aspirations are aborted right here in Iowa. Have you studied our past caucuses—you have NO chance here in Iowa!”

Karger isn’t just openly gay, he’s an active supporter of gay causes and also, hijinks in general:

+ He totally sent that email straight to The Des Moines Register.

+ He started Californians Against Hate. Their first event was a rally outside a hotel owned by a Prop 8 donor which turned into a boycott of that hotel group and subsequently a turnaround from that hotel group.

+ Tipped off The Wall Street Journal on the Mormon/Prop 8 connection, they subsequently broke the story.

+ Organized a protest outside the Mormon Bookstore where Mitt Romney was signing copies of his book

+ Took out ads in Iowa in anticipation of Romney’s visit, asking the people of Iowa to call Romney and ask him to “urge the Mormon Church to stop its nasty campaign to ban gay marriage.”

+ “In 2006, he waltzed into Vanity Fair‘s exclusive Academy Awards party with a fake Oscar statue and four hot chicks he’d met on the street, claiming to be part of the King Kong special effects team.”

In February of 2010, Mother Jones did a cover story on Fred Karger, who noted “most of the prominent gay-marriage advocates are, well, married people: risk averse and unschooled in the political dark arts” and proceeded to declare “I’m a different kind of gay activist. I’m a little wilder.”

Here’s Fred’s appearance on the news discussing his work as the founder of Californians Against Hate:

Despite being 30 years retired, Karger took a heightened interest to the Prop 8 situation in 2008 because it “struck a nerve.” Back then, it looked like we’d win the Prop 8 vote. Hollywood was stuffing the No-on-8s with cash and the other side couldn’t compete. Then, suddenly, Karger began noticing a dramatic, sharp and extreme uptick of funding pouring into, the initiative’s primary backer, in the form of $500,000 a day. He began noticing “Mormons everywhere in the Prop 8 campaign: as actors in the TV ads, as volunteers, organizers, and political consultants” and became aware of NOM’s involvement with Prop 8 and its deep ties to the Mormon church:

As a political professional, Karger—who for decades worked for one of California’s premier campaign consulting firms, a shop that had helped invent modern opposition research—was grudgingly impressed with what the Mormons were doing. “They completely altered the landscape,” he says. “They took over every aspect of the campaign.” Karger estimates that Mormons ultimately contributed $30 million of the $42 million total raised in support of Prop 8, which passed easily in November 2008. (By contrast, anti-Prop 8 forces raised $64 million.)

But if the opponents of gay marriage won the battle, they also ensured themselves a big headache. In Karger, they galvanized an adversary who has now dug in to fight for the long haul—and who brings a dramatically different skill set than the rest of the marriage-equality movement.

The article details a variety of gutsy and covert moves Karger’s made in his lifetime. Karger says “making a big splash” is “kind of my niche.” This is good because we are in dire need of some kind of Lesbian Avenger type business in Washington.

So what we have here is a sort of radically social liberal embedded in the GOP in an election that may very well include Our Greatest Fear Sarah Palin. Often people run for president despite having no shot at it just so they have a chance to get their message on a national stage, which means really our concerns about Republican fiscal policies will probs not be relevant here. This can be nothing but good for us — similarly, it seems like Karger’s antics might appeal to the same young, activist, gay or gay-friendly base that Obama is hoping to court in anticipation of his candidacy for a second term. This may mean Obama will have to step up his commitment to the homos in order to maintain his people.

Karger met with RNC officials including chairman Reince Priebus this week and all involved say it was a “warm meeting.” That’s hot. Here’s his first little ad:

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Riese is the 41-year-old Co-Founder of as well as an award-winning writer, video-maker, LGBTQ+ Marketing consultant and aspiring cyber-performance artist who grew up in Michigan, lost her mind in New York and now lives in Los Angeles. Her work has appeared in nine books, magazines including Marie Claire and Curve, and all over the web including Nylon, Queerty, Nerve, Bitch, Emily Books and Jezebel. She had a very popular personal blog once upon a time, and then she recapped The L Word, and then she had the idea to make this place, and now here we all are! In 2016, she was nominated for a GLAAD Award for Outstanding Digital Journalism. She's Jewish and has a cute dog named Carol. Follow her on twitter and instagram.

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  1. Pingback: Openly gay candidate Fred Karger is 1st Republican to file to run for … – Dallas Voice | Conservatives for America

  2. You guys THIS WAS A BOOK BEFORE IT HAPPENED. Wide Awake by David Levithan
    “In the not-too-impossible-to-imagine future, a gay Jewish man has been elected president of the United States. Until the governor of one state decides that some election results in his state are invalid, awarding crucial votes to the other candidate, and his fellow party member. Thus is the inspiration for couple Jimmy and Duncan to lend their support to their candidate by deciding to take part in the rallies and protests. Along the way comes an exploration of their relationship, their politics, and their country, and sometimes, as they learn, it’s more about the journey than it is about reaching the destination.”

    • I would totally marry David Levithan if, you know, we both weren’t gay. Also he probably has a boyfriend or something.


  3. “Often people run for president despite having no shot at it just so they have a chance to get their message on a national stage, which means really our concerns about Republican fiscal policies will probs not be relevant here. This can be nothing but good for us — similarly, it seems like Karger’s antics might appeal to the same young, activist, gay or gay-friendly base that Obama is hoping to court in anticipation of his candidacy for a second term. This may mean Obama will have to step up his commitment to the homos in order to maintain his people.”

    I like that part a lot. National pro-homo messages to the people from a republican dude!
    Nice to see he’s the face behind exposing Mormon involvement in Prop 8, that shit still makes me angry.

    • yeah i think we were talking about this in the NOM post — that if we want to win this thing we have to get as radically liberal as they get radically conservative. i really think this guy is in a great place to make a difference, i hope people listen.

  4. The ıntervıewer from fox ıs a serıous asshole.
    He saıd ruın 6 tımes ın about a mınute, specifically about Karger doıng ıt to small busıness types.
    And talk about a chıllıng effect on free speech, he ınterrupted Karger though out the whole clıp. He could hardly get ın a full sentence let alone a reasonable response to the pınk tıe accusations.
    I would want to call that guy out on hıs lack of manners.
    Fuckıng rude.


      We have the freedom of speech in America — that means we have the right to say whatever we want WITHOUT BEING IMPRISONED OR KILLED BY THE GOVERNMENT. but it doesn’t mean we are protected from being boycotted by other citizens (also executing their right to free speech)! That’s absurd. I wanted to throw chapstick at that guy’s eyes, also i wanted Karger to say that he was also using his right to free speech. god fox news.

  5. Pingback: Openly gay Republican Fred Karger announces 2012 presidential run – CBS News | Conservatives for America

    • Same re: obsessed, & all in 15 minutes~! Donated, he’s in NY this week, wish I could hear him speak.

  6. And the problem with picketing a business that gave $100 is? Dude says its “economic intimidation.” It’s called “choice.” We pick where we want to spend our $, and we can tell others why.

    If our system was the actual free market that it purports to be, that would be happening more often. There’s been places where the people gave me lip when I went there, all over me basically being a woman that looks like a man. So I did not give my money there again. And? That’s life.

    I also hate it when straights say it’s a “political disagreement.” This is at 1:14 of that FOX clip. If it was a political disagreement, I wouldn’t give a fuck. You think I should get less than my share, and that I should be forced to continue contributing to your share. All your little 1000+ benefits you get from marriage.. you take taxes from my paycheck to bankroll that shit. You complain when there’s a book in the public library that contains the word “gay.”

    And wait a sec, the British are supposed to have some scruples. What the hell are they doing on FOX? :D

  7. Yeah… I still view myself as an unofficial member of the “rent is too DAMN high” party.

  8. This guy is a shit stirrer; I like him. It’s too bad he’s going to be treated like garbage by his own party.

    Whenever I see other queers or Pagans running for office (or even organizing/working for) the Republican party, I’m always filled with rage again at our shitty 2 party system. It’s just so gross and unfair that people whose main concerns are often things like fiscal conservatism or the primacy of the military or “guns, yay!” (or whatever other issue that generally falls under the “conservative” umbrella) really feel they have no other viable choice than to support a party that explicitly hates them and seeks to exclude them not only from positions of power within the party but also from enjoying even the basic rights and privileges of citizenship. Regardless of my own personal feelings on any of those issues, I think everyone deserves to have access to representation that they feel fully supports ALL of their interests. And I just don’t think that’s possible with only 2 parties.

    • I agree about the 2 party system, I loathe it. But the reason that some people will align themselves with a party that opposes certain aspects of their beings could be because they either find certain other aspects to weigh heavier, and/or because they believe they can change things from the inside. At the very least, they can show the bigots within that party that they have more in common with people they perceive to be enemies than they previously knew.

      • Totally. There really needs to be more parties. Parties that are both pro-gay and pro-fiscal conservatism (or pro-whatever other issue the gays involved feel outweighs the other crap). Otherwise, it just seems to me that a lot of the time you end up with groups like GOProud that, while they try to change from within, really end up acting more like that unpopular kid in highschool who attaches hirself to the popular group and viciously mocks the other unpopular kids in the hopes that the popular kids would like hir more, but they really never will and they make fun of hir behind hir back anyway.

        Um, if that makes sense. It’s late; I’m tired. Sorry for incoherent rambling.

        • I agree it’s like when GOP gains 10 pounds and can’t wear pink and the rest of the Plastic Republican party is like,
          YOU CAN’T SIT WITH US!

    • I totally feel your frustration with the two party system. I myself feel torn between the two ideological poles in America as a lesbian who values free market economics and would like to see a viable Libertarian candidate at the national level. Do I vote with my social values or do I vote for my fiscal values? It’s a tough choice.

      However, I think it’s important to note that there is evidence that both bi-party systems and more numerously populated democratic systems can be shown to favor centrism. You see, even when there are five or ten viable elected parties, two or three are forced to enter governing coalitions or resign themselves to legislative deadlock. So, whether we have two parties that contain wide swaths of ideologues or ten parties that are much more tightly defined, democratic government promotes compromise. As a poly-sci student, I just want to encourage your faith in American democracy. I’m not against criticism of the status quo, just “grass is always greener on the other side” sorts of criticism.

  9. I don’t know if I would vote for this guy, he doesn’t seem all there. Am I the only one who thought that?
    Although it’s not like I could vote anyways since I’m canadian. Our biggest issue right now is that a minister wrote NOT strategically on an official document. Really papi!? Are you a 3rd grader in the 90’s!?

  10. Question – where is he on women’s rights? Government programs? The military? Do we know anything about his politics other than that they’re queer?

  11. I can’t decide how I feel about him. I looked for more stuff on him since I literally can’t figure out what about him is remotely Republican (he says NOTHING but stuff about gay rights on his website), and I found this interview. He’s super into Palin but other than that I still can’t really discern what his other views are. Which is obviously super important to me when I vote! I agree that the 2 party system is visibly failing in his case. There’s no narrative that describes him (not that I think there should be, the world just runs off of narratives), and the result is that he isn’t understood by Democratic or Republican parties. This is going to be so interesting to see play out!


    • “And when we look at the last election, the exit polls show that over 30% of the gay vote went for Republicans and in 2008 it was 25%. So there are a lot of gay Republicans out there. Some that hold beliefs in smaller government, less government, less taxes, closing our deficit, government efficiency and personal responsibility and such Republican values.” -Quote from countrysongs link

      This is me. And this also explains how he is Republican, i.e.: limited government, low taxes and personal responsibility.

      “So they kind of reluctantly came around to Obama, so one of the reasons why I could even consider this Anthony, was the fact that there’s a lot of dissatisfaction within our community, with Obama. He was a big disappointment initially and has continued to be. You know his views on gay marriage are evolving, he says. I mean he use to be for it. I told the Huffington Post he’s the only person I have ever heard of whose switched from being for gay marriage, to being against it. It’s usually the opposite way around. And so there’s a lot of disappointment with him and in the two year window in which Democrats controlled the universe, and the two houses and the presidency, very little happened [on gay rights].”

      ^ This. It seems like Obama’s views on gay marriage ‘evolve’ right alongside public opinion.

      I think he sounds interesting to say the least. Does he sound viable? Not so much. Could he be a positive influence on both parties? Yes

      • “And when we look at the last election, the exit polls show that over 30% of the gay vote went for Republicans and in 2008 it was 25%. So there are a lot of gay Republicans out there. Some that hold beliefs in smaller government, less government, less taxes, closing our deficit, government efficiency and personal responsibility and such Republican values.” -Quote from countrysongs link

        This is me too. Always happy to find a like mind.

        • Just curious, how strongly do you identify with the Republican party? Personally, I vote Republican more as a lesser of two evils, but would describe myself as a student of classical liberalism. I usually call myself a Libertarian in casual discourse due to the modern connotations of any form of the word “liberal”.

          • I have been moving farther and farther away from the republican party. I do now find myself voting republican because my fiscal conservative leanings over whelm my social liberalism. I really wish that there was a better choice. I feel so stuck in the middle. And no side really wants me.

          • You might find this website interesting:

            And yes, being a gay Republican engenders a constant feeling of being the odd girl out. Thank you, Harry, for providing yet another example of the alienation and condemnation I feel from most fellow homogays.

      • I have to say I don’t understand this statement. Obama was never for gay marriage. He stated that before he was even nominated to lead the democrats. And when you say (to paraphrase) that republicans are for lower taxes…what do you mean? Do you mean in comparison to Obama, who has lowered taxes for 95% of Americans? What would you think the Republicans would have done that they didn’t do in the previous 8 years? I am really at a loss for words at this little stream of ‘straddlers who vote republican. The ‘lesser of two evils’ really? the LESSER? Like Bush who reduced the American economy from a surplus of $4 trillion to a deficit of $5 trillion? That kind of smaller government, lower taxes is what you want? Really Papi, REALLY? Turn off the FOX, turn it off, now. These sentences run as dry and as badly sourced as their trickling drivel.
        Yours sincerely, Harry(iet), Australia.

        • “I have to say I don’t understand this statement.”
          Ditto. Which statement? A quote, like the above example, is helpful when addressing a specific statement. In any case, I’m simply arguing that Obama has taken a long time to do anything about DOMA. I do not consider him a champion of gay rights due to his slowness to address issues like DADT and DOMA and public statements against gay marriage. This is relevant to my politics because I hate being told that I am self-hating for preferring the Republican party when the Democrats drag their feet on the social issues I do care about. Why should I throw away my economic policies to embrace a party that is half-assed on my social policies? I personally think it is easier to work on making the Rep party more socially liberally than it would be to make the Dem party more fiscally conservative.

          Moving on, taxes in America are confusing. I’m just gonna start with that statement as caveat to any fumbling I have done and will no doubt do in addressing your criticism. That said, I find this article helpful in explaining my political ideology on taxes.

          The takeaway from the article is that, yeah, both Dems and Reps tax too much and both have raised taxes and lowered taxes over the years. However, I agree with the above article that there is a discernible difference in the ideological basis of these tax policies. I favor policies that increase market economic forces, and at least in principle if not always in practice, so do Republicans.

          As far as G.W. Bush’s track record, was G.W. Bush a fiscal conservative? No, so please don’t use his policies as a critique of my economic philosophy.

          Also, seeing as how I don’t watch televised news, I’m afraid I cannot comply with your request that I, “Turn off the FOX, turn it off, now.” Apologies.

          As far as my “sentences [running] as dry and as badly sourced as their trickling drivel”, I must say that there is a wealth of literature that begs to differ. Here are some websites for starters:

          In closing, here is a entertaining video that illustrates some aspects the Keynes vs. Hayek debate on economic policy:

  12. queer, or not queer, he’s still a republican, and therefore I don’t really trust him. I don’t trust republicans because they have their fiscal priorities all kinds of fucked up. I confused as to why he still makes that party association if some of his policies seem to be liberal?

    • Pretty much where I am at. There still is an R after his name and if he ends up voting along with the other Rs and the country crumbles around us, its not much comfort that he is into Barbara Streisand.

  13. This man was one of the people behind Bush senior’s race-baiting Willie Horton campaign. I don’t care if he’s gay friendly, his race politics are obviously reprehensible and to me that cancels out his progressive points.

    • also: “Karger emphasized the need for education and immigration reform. He believes that we need to ensure jobs stay in America while also confronting the fact that millions of illegal immigrants are in the United States. Finally, Karger announced that he wanted to be the first possible Republican candidate to propose that the U.S. Constitution should be amended so that 16 and 17 year olds can vote.”

      Those statements are all extremely vague and fishy to me. “reform” could be anything. Also, 16 and 17 year olds voting?! I don’t even know what I think about that.

      • If they can get married and die in service for their country I think it’s only fair they can vote for who sends them to war. However I’d rather see them unable to vote and unable to fight and marry too. Prolong the inevitable adulthood as long as possible I say.

  14. I don’t think he has a chance, which is unfortunate. I’d vote for him in a heartbeat…imma be old enough to vote in the election but not the primary…and if the republican is some tool like Romney or Gingrich, imma have to reluctantly vote obama.

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