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Fred Karger

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Title: Fred Karger  
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Subject: Results of the Republican Party presidential primaries, 2012, Fundraising for the 2012 United States presidential election, Straw polls for the Republican Party presidential primaries, 2012, Republican Party presidential debates, 2012, Nationwide opinion polling for the Republican Party 2012 presidential primaries
Collection: 1950 Births, American Political Consultants, California Republicans, Gay Politicians, Jewish American Politicians, Lgbt Businesspeople from the United States, Lgbt Jews, Lgbt People from California, Lgbt People from Illinois, Lgbt Politicians from the United States, Lgbt Rights Activists from the United States, Living People, Nonprofit Executives, People from Cook County, Illinois, United States Presidential Candidates, 2012
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Fred Karger

Fred Karger
Personal details
Born Fred S. Karger
(1950-01-31) January 31, 1950
Glencoe, Illinois, United States
Political party Republican Party
Independent Republican
Alma mater University of Denver (B.A.)
Occupation Political consultant
Gay rights activist
Religion Judaism[1]

Fred S. Karger (born January 31, 1950) is an American same-sex marriage law.[6] His running for the Republican nomination for president made him the first openly gay presidential candidate from a major political party in American history.[7][8]


  • Early life and acting career 1
  • Political career 2
    • Political consultant 2.1
    • 2012 presidential campaign 2.2
  • Political positions 3
    • Capital punishment 3.1
    • Israel 3.2
    • Military 3.3
    • LDS Church 3.4
    • Same-sex marriage 3.5
    • Second amendment 3.6
    • Voting age 3.7
    • Other 3.8
  • Career as an activist 4
    • Gay rights activist 4.1
      • LDS Church and same-sex marriage 4.1.1
      • Complaint against National Organization for Marriage 4.1.2
    • Tobacco advocacy 4.2
    • Orange juice boycott 4.3
  • See also 5
  • References 6
  • External links 7

Early life and acting career

Karger was born in Glencoe, Illinois, the son of Jean (née Foreman), an active community volunteer, and Robert S. Karger, who owned a brokerage firm.[9][10] Karger graduated from New Trier High School in 1968 and earned a B.A. in speech communications from the University of Denver in 1972. Karger moved to Los Angeles from Chicago and began acting. He appeared in a John Hughes-directed Edge Shave Cream commercial, as well as featured roles in Owen Marshall: Counselor at Large; Rich Man, Poor Man; Horshack! (a pilot for a spinoff from Welcome Back Kotter); and Airport – 1975. However, Karger continued to follow his passion for politics, and eventually landed with the Dolphin Group in 1977.[4][5]

Political career

Political consultant

Karger's political career began with the Mike Curb, the Presidential campaigns of Senator Robert Dole (R-KS), Senator Paul Laxalt (R-NV), Governor John Connally (R-TX), Senator Charles Percy (R-IL) and dozens of other federal, state and local candidates. He managed statewide and local ballot measure campaigns, judicial campaigns, and served on several campaign finance and steering committees.[4][5]

Karger consulted on behalf of real estate developers, farmers, consumer product companies, the hospitality industry and a variety of other business in their dealings with local, state and the federal government.[5][11]

2012 presidential campaign

On April 10, 2010, Karger held a press conference at the

  • Goldberg, Michelle (April 7, 2011). "Elder Statesman. Fred Karger is a gay, Jewish Republican, and he’s running for president. His plan is to embarrass the Mormon GOP frontrunner, Mitt Romney, and get the church to drop its support for gay-marriage bans".  
  • In Fred Karger's Presidential Run, GOP Stands for Gay Old Party June 2, 2011
  • Mozgovaya, Natasha (June 5, 2012). "The classic-GOP gay, Jewish candidate forges ahead". Haaretz. 

External links

  1. ^ Barbara Anderson. "GOP presidential candidates have pluses and minuses, but are better than what we've got". Retrieved 2011-07-13. 
  2. ^ Pareene, Alex (2011-03-23) Fred Karger, gay Republican, for president,
  3. ^ "Fred Karger, gay Republican, for president". Retrieved 30 October 2014. 
  4. ^ a b c d e Mencimer, Stephanie. "Game Changer". Mother Jones. Retrieved 2010-03-31. 
  5. ^ a b c d e "Resume | Fred Karger Presidential Exploratory Committee". Retrieved 2011-07-13. 
  6. ^ Morain, Dan. "An operative comes out of the shadows". Sacramento Bee. Retrieved 2010-03-31. 
  7. ^ Lowery, Jarrod (November 2, 2010) "Get ready for the next one", Indiana Daily Student. Retrieved November 3, 2010.
  8. ^ a b Good, Chris (August 11, 2010) "Fred Karger: The Gay-Rights Bogeyman of the GOP Presidential Race", The Atlantic. Retrieved August 12, 2010.
  9. ^ "Generations of Activism | Fred Karger for President". Retrieved 2011-07-13. 
  10. ^ "Gay Republican and possible 2012 presidential candidate Fred Karger talks to theDC". The Daily Caller. 2010-12-31. Retrieved 2011-07-13. 
  11. ^ |accessdate=2010-04-02
  12. ^ Mencimer, Stephanie. "Fred Karger for President?". Mother Jones. Retrieved 2010-05-13. 
  13. ^ Montopoli, Brian (2010-04-12). "Mitt Romney wins GOP Straw Poll". CBS New. Retrieved 2010-05-03. 
  14. ^ a b c Linkins, Jason (2011-04-12). "'"Fred Karger Declares Himself The 'Anti-Romney Candidate. Retrieved 2011-07-13. 
  15. ^ Staff, Staff. "Fred Karger's Week In New Hampshire". New Hampshire Insider. Retrieved 2010-05-03. 
  16. ^ Ocomb, Karen. "The Possible GOP Presidential Candidate Hits Iowa". LGBTPOV. Retrieved 2010-05-23. 
  17. ^ a b "Fred Karger to be First to File for President With the Federal Election Commission" (Press release). Fred Karger Presidential Exploratory Committee. March 21, 2011. Archived from the original on May 3, 2011. Retrieved May 3, 2011. 
  18. ^ Hirschhorn, Dan (November 23, 2010). "2012 underdog Fred Karger airing Iowa TV ad". POLITICO. Retrieved November 23, 2010. 
  19. ^ "Fred Who?". 
  20. ^ a b "Run, Karger, run? | Gay San Diego". 2010-04-10. Retrieved 2011-07-13. 
  21. ^ "Fred Karger: The Gay-Rights Bogeyman of the GOP Presidential Race - Chris Good - Politics". The Atlantic. 2010-08-11. Retrieved 2011-07-13. 
  22. ^ Linkins, Jason (2011-03-23). "Late Returns: We Have Our First GOP Presidential Candidate". Retrieved 2011-07-13. 
  23. ^ "Fred Karger, gay Republican, for president". 2011-03-23. Retrieved 2011-07-13. 
  24. ^ "Karger beats Romney in New Hampshire straw poll". Retrieved 2011-07-13. 
  25. ^ R. Scott Moxley (2011-06-02). "In Fred Karger's Presidential Run, GOP Stands for Gay Old Party - Page 1 - News - Orange County". OC Weekly. Retrieved 2011-07-13. 
  26. ^ "Karger questions Romney’s primary residence". Iowa Independent. Retrieved 2011-07-13. 
  27. ^ Malone, Noreen. "Did Mitt Romney Vote Illegally in Massachusetts? - Daily Intel". Retrieved 2011-07-13. 
  28. ^ "Mike Manning supports Fred Karger". 
  29. ^ Fred Karger-Michele Bachmann a Liar, Hypocrite, and Bigot":""". Retrieved 2013-12-04. 
  30. ^ Mehta, Seema (June 29, 2012) "Fred Karger ends presidential bid", Los Angeles Times. Retrieved July 2, 2012.
  31. ^ "Fred Karger: Crime, Justice & America interview". YouTube. 2011-12-13. Retrieved 2013-11-02. 
  32. ^ Tabak, Nathan (September 13, 2010). "A Gay Jewish Republican for President? Don’t Laugh". Retrieved April 8, 2011. 
  33. ^ a b Victor Stepien, 'A Real Maverick', in Out & About Newspaper, July 1, 2011 [1]
  34. ^ "First gay Jewish Republican presidential candidate visits". 
  35. ^ a b Fred Karger Presidential Exploratory Committee (April 10, 2010). "Announcement - April 10, 2010". Retrieved September 30, 2010. 
  36. ^ a b c Bedard, Paul; Kim, Mallie Jane (2010-10-08) "A Gay Republican for President in 2012?", U.S. News & World Report online. Retrieved 2010-10-13.
  37. ^ Wollan, Malia (June 9, 2010). "Mormon Church Agrees to Pay Campaign".  
  38. ^ "Fred Karger says Mitt Romney would have to put loyalty to Mormon church over job as president". 
  39. ^ "Karger discusses possible candidacy". 
  40. ^ "Boom Boom Room - Landmark Gay Bar in Laguna Beach, CA". Save The Boom!!!. Retrieved 2014-06-29. 
  41. ^ Vick, Karl (2009-05-29). "The Mormons are Coming!". Washington Post. Retrieved 2010-04-01. 
  42. ^ Lamb, John R. "Bonnie vs. the Manchester Hyatt". San Diego CityBeat. Retrieved 2009-07-20. 
  43. ^ Michaelson, Elex. "Manchester Grand Hyatt Reaches Out to Gay Groups; Boycott Continues". San Diego 6. Retrieved 2009-07-20. 
  44. ^ Karger, Fred (2009-07-18). "First Anniversary of Boycott Against Doug Manchester"., Inc. Retrieved 2010-03-31. 
  45. ^ Hope, Randy. "Boycott Staged Against A-1 Self Storage Company". Gay and Lesbian Times. Retrieved 2009-07-29. 
  46. ^ Ainsworth, Bill. "Boycott Staged Against A-1 Self Storage Company". San Diego Union-Tribune. Retrieved 2010-04-07. 
  47. ^ La Ganga, Maria. "Carrot Firm's Olive Branch." Los Angeles Times. October 9th, 2008.
  48. ^ Semerad, Tony. "Ken Garff Ends Boycott". Salt Lake Tribune. Retrieved 2010-04-07. 
  49. ^ a b c McKinley, Jesse (2008-11-26). "Inquiry Set on Mormon Aid for California Marriage Vote". New York Times. Retrieved 2010-04-07. 
  50. ^ Gay Activist Wins Against Mormon Church | | Laguna Beach Independent
  51. ^ "Iowa and Maine question National Organization for Marriage’s funding sources". EDGE Boston. 2009-08-31. Retrieved 2010-03-31. 
  52. ^ Goodnough, Abby (2009-10-30). "Setback for Group Fighting Gay Marriage in Maine". New York Times. Retrieved 2010-03-31. 
  53. ^ Karger, Fred (2009-12-21). "National Organization for Marriage Name Kept Secret". Huffington Post. Retrieved 2010-03-31. 
  54. ^ Zak, Dan (2011-02-02). "Crashing the party: Republican strategist turned gay rights activist ponders a White House run". The Washington Post.
  55. ^ "Karger hopes boycott will preserve N.H. primary role". 


See also

Karger encouraged Republicans to boycott Florida orange juice in protest of the Florida Republican Party's decision to reschedule its primary to January, which upsets the normal primary calendar.[55]

Orange juice boycott

In the 1990s Karger worked for the tobacco industry to prevent smoking bans in California.[54]

Tobacco advocacy

[53] In October 2009, Karger and Californians Against Hate filed a formal ethics complaint with the state of

Complaint against National Organization for Marriage

Karger has stated that he considers his bid less about winning the presidency, than about getting the LDS Church to end its political campaign against same-sex marriage.[14] He has picketed LDS stores and bookstores.[14] Previously, Karger also filed a formal complaint with the California Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC) against the LDS Church, accusing the church of hiding the extent of its financial involvement supporting Proposition 8.[49] Karger noticed discrepancies between the $2,078 worth of non-monetary contributions that the LDS Church had reported and all the activities that the church had undertaken to pass Proposition 8.[4] Roman Porter, the executive director of the FPPC, announced a full investigation later that month. The investigation examined the church’s involvement in providing phone banks, a website and commercials for Proposition 8,[49] ultimately finding the church guilty of 13 violations, which the LDS Church settled by paying a fine.[49][50]

LDS Church and same-sex marriage

  • Manchester Grand Hyatt Hotel: UNITE HERE Local 30, the hotel workers. Hotel Marketing Director Kelly Commerford confirmed that cancellations resulting directly from the boycott had cost the hotel $7 million just in the first 8 months.[43] Californians Against Hate estimates that the boycott continues to cost the hotel $1 million a month.[44]
  • A-1 Self Storage: Terry Caster owns A-1 Self Storage; he and his family donated a total of $693,000 to Proposition 8.[45] Caster also claims that gay marriage would create a “sick society.”[46] Californians Against Hate called a boycott of A-1 Self Storage effective November 20, 2008.
  • Bolthouse Farms: William Bolthouse gave $100,000 to Proposition 8, so Karger and Californians Against Hate began the boycott of the company he founded, HRC’s Corporate Equality Index.[47]
  • Garff Automotive: Katharine Garff, the matriarch of the Garff Automotive family, donated $100,000 to Proposition 8. In retaliation, Karger and Californians Against Hate initiated a boycott against Garff Automotive Group, which owns 53 dealerships in six states. The boycott settled two weeks later when the Garff family met with prominent gay philanthropist and WordPerfect co-founder Bruce Bastian and Karger and promised non-discrimination and donations to Utah-based gay and lesbian groups.[48]

In July 2008, Karger founded Californians Against Hate to serve as a political watchdog of the major donors and organizations working to take away gay marriage in California through Proposition 8.[41] Karger and Californians Against Hate have waged four boycotts of companies whose families gave large contributions to qualify and pass Proposition 8:

After retiring from the Dolphin Group in 2004, Karger became a gay activist. Karger first organized a non-profit group called Save the Boom to save a historic gay bar in Laguna Beach California from the wrecking ball.[17][40]

Gay rights activist

Career as an activist

Karger says he aims to improve education and create jobs in the U.S.[36] He also supports immigration reform.[36] He is opposed to nation-building in the Middle East.[33]


Karger has proposed a 28th Amendment to the United States Constitution which would grant 16- and 17-year-olds the right to vote. He argues that such an amendment would encourage younger people to participate in the political process.[39]

Voting age

Karger is a supporter of the second amendment, but feels reasonable restrictions should be placed on high capacity clips and semiautomatic weapons.

Second amendment

Karger supports repealing the Defense of Marriage Act and making same-sex marriage the "law of the land".[35]

Same-sex marriage

Karger is a critic of the LDS Church due to that church's opposition to same-sex marriage.[37] He has stated "If a President Romney got a call from the president of the LDS, he has no choice but to obey. It is obedience over family and country." evaluated this claim by Karger as "Pants On Fire" wrong, citing examples of the LDS church proclaiming political neutrality and that prominent Mormons have widely diverging political views, both liberal and conservative.[38]

LDS Church

Karger supported ending the Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy.[35][36]


During his first trip to Israel as a presidential candidate, Karger met with Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon as well as with Nitzan Horowitz, the second openly gay member of the Knesset.[34]

Karger, who is Jewish, has compared his record on issues related to Israel with that of Menachem Begin, former Israeli prime minister and founder of the Likud Party.[32] In 2011, he attended the American Israel Public Affairs Committee conference.[33]


Karger is opposed to the closing the Guantanamo Bay detention camp.

Though once an opponent of the death penalty, Karger is now proponent of the practice, having affirmed his belief that the death penalty serves to deter crime and that it provides closure to victims of severe crimes.[31]

Capital punishment

Political positions

A documentary about Karger's presidential campaign, Fred, premiered at the Monadnock International Film Festival on April 4, 2014.

On June 29, 2012, following the Utah Republican presidential primary and the California Democratic presidential primary, Karger officially ended his campaign.[30]

Karger was not present at the debates during 2011 and 2012. He appeared on the primary or caucus ballot in six states (Michigan, Iowa, New Hampshire, Maryland, California, and Utah) and one territory (Puerto Rico), where he came in fourth place.

On July 13, 2011, Karger called fellow GOP presidential candidate Michele Bachmann a "liar, hypocrite, and bigot" when she refused to comment on allegations Bachmann's husband was using conversion therapy in his clinic to attempt to cure gays of homosexuality and saying that homosexuality was a choice.[29]

He has been endorsed by The Real World: Washington D.C. cast member Mike Manning.[28]

In June 2011, he filed a formal complaint with Massachusetts authorities, accusing fellow Republican nomination candidate Mitt Romney of having registered and voted in Massachusetts when his primary residence was in another state.[26][27]

In late April 2011, Karger attended the national convention of the OC Weekly that gay Republicans need to "stand up and be proud in a tough atmosphere."[25]

Karger speaking at a rally in Iowa

On March 31, 2011, Karger won the Saint Anselm College Republicans Presidential Straw Poll, receiving 25% of the vote of the Goffstown, New Hampshire, school's student body and employees. He defeated Mitt Romney by five votes.[24]

Karger officially announced his candidacy on March 23, 2011.[22][23]

Karger has stated that his "budget is five to six million, which is, of course, a congressional race budget", and has also indicated that his "goal in running" is "to inspire the next generation through his candidacy."[20] Karger's candidacy has been described as a long shot,[21] with one interviewer indicating that "[t]he question on the minds of many" is "does he think he has a snowball’s chance? The answer to that is, yes and no."[20]

In November 2010, Karger aired a weeklong ad campaign in Iowa which was described as the first television commercial of the 2012 presidential race. Steve Scheffler, an Iowa delegate to the national Republican National Committee, has said Karger is part of the radical homosexual community.[18] His campaign has made use of the slogan "Fred Who?"[19]

On July 18, 2010, Karger announced he had formed an exploratory committee for the United States presidential election of 2012.[8][17]


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