Fred Karger officially ended his campaign for president today, having failed to meet his goal of taking part in one of the Republican presidential debates. His quixotic journey for the White House began in March of 2011 when he was the first GOPer to officially enter the race.
The Long Beach resident did make history as the first openly gay candidate to seek the nomination of a major political party as its presidential candidate. And his ultimately fruitless effort to join the major candidates on stage for a debate attracted national news media attention.
A former political consultant at the Dolphin Group, whose clients have included former Presidents Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan, and the senior George Bush, Karger was a master at attracting the press’ attention, even if most considered his bid a farce. He was less persuasive with voters, as he routinely garnered less than 1 percent of the vote during the primaries.
His gay activism was launched in 2006 when he tried to save a gay beachside bar in his hometown. Then during the 2008 fight over Prop 8, the California ballot measure that banned same-sex marriage, Karger created the group Californians Against Hate.
He has continued to go after the Mormon church for its role in the passage of the anti-gay law. Most recently he released a TV commercial in Utah that asked the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to end its anti-gay attacks.
In a statement Karger released today (Friday, June 29), his humorous side shown once again, as the announcement included the cartoon drawing at right captioned “She’s singing. The Karger for President Campaign is officially over today.”
On a more serious note, Karger called his 2 1/2 years on the campaign trail “one hell of a ride.” He thanked the thousands of people he met across the country, his staff and campaign volunteers.
“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,” wrote Karger.
What his future plans are, Karger did not say. But he is not expected to retire from public life or the fight for LGBT rights.
“I plan to rest up for awhile and then I will be back at it to help in the fight for LGBT equality. We will let you know as soon as our exact course is determined,” wrote Karger.