Fred Karger
American political consultant and activist
Fred Karger
Fred S. Karger is an American political consultant, gay rights activist and watchdog, former actor, and former candidate for the Republican nomination for the 2012 US Presidential election. Although he has not held elected or public office, Karger has worked on nine presidential campaigns and served as a senior consultant to the campaigns of Presidents Ronald Reagan, George H. W. Bush and Gerald Ford.
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Mormons Plan To Leave Church En Masse After Harsh LGBT Policy Changes
Huffington Post - over 1 year
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Huffington Post article
Fred Karger: More Republicans Need to Join the Fight for LGBT Equality
Huffington Post - over 3 years
As a gay Californian, I am at last equal in the eyes of the law with the demise of Proposition 8. California recently became the 13th state in the nation to allow gay marriage, thanks to the United States Supreme Court's decision in Hollingsworth v. Perry, which effectively overturned Proposition 8. Now millions of Californians will have full marriage equality for good. As an American, for the first time in my 63 years, I will have the exact same rights as my older brother. The Supreme Court affirmed this when it also struck down government-sanctioned discrimination by declaring the so-called Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) unconstitutional. Justice Anthony Kennedy's majority opinion was far-reaching. Since I live in one of 13 states (plus the District of Columbia) that allow gay marriage, if I get married, I am entitled to all 1,142 federal marriage benefits, just like my straight brother. Marriage Equality Needs to Be Bipartisan I have been fighting for gay righ ...
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Huffington Post article
Stuart Stevens Is Right: The Primary Debate System Needs To Be Destroyed Before It Destroys America
Huffington Post - almost 4 years
During the 2012 GOP primary season, which began sometime in the spring of 2011, there were a lot of candidate debates. We are talking something in the order of 20 candidate debates. It was an absolutely grim ordeal. And back then there was only one political party that needed the Hogwarts Sorting Hat to work out who its candidate was going to be. And it ended up being the candidate we all knew was going to win the nomination in the end. In 2016, it won't just be the Republicans working through the process; the Democrats will be as well. This raises the question -- just how much abuse should we be expecting? Is it really reasonable to expect the nation to sit through 40 some-odd debates during the next election cycle? No. That is some bulls**t. Former Romney strategist Stuart Stevens, bless him, agrees that it would be just depraved to continue this trend: This debate escalation is somewhere between silly and dumb and serves no public good. We pick a president wit ...
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Huffington Post article
Does The Beverly Hills Hotel Have Ties To 'State-Sponsored Homophobia'?
Huffington Post - about 4 years
Things aren’t looking too bright for the prestigious Beverly Hills Hotel. On Feb. 13, a group of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) rights advocacy activists organized a boycott of the hotel, linking the popular lodging destination’s owner to “state-sponsored homophobia,” reports CBS Los Angeles. The Dump The Beverly Hills Hotel group released a quirky video where people announced a "breakup" with the hotel. “It’s over. And we are never, ever getting back together. Like ever,” one supporter says in an apparent nod to Taylor Swift in the clip. The Sultan of Brunei owns the hotel, known for hosting starlets and celebrities. In Brunei, same-sex relationships are punishable by up to 10 years in prison. The video was released along with a candid public letter asking that supporters don’t patronize the hotel in any way. “The Beverly Hills Hotel’s owners don’t believe in equality, but they love to take our money," the letter stated. "If we wouldn’t eat at Chik- ...
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Huffington Post article
Fred Karger: Where's the Outrage? National Organization for Marriage Out to Destroy Lives
Huffington Post - over 4 years
The LGBT community and everyone who cares about fairness and equality face four crucial votes next Tuesday in Maryland, Maine, Minnesota and Washington State. All four elections are the doing of the National Organization for Marriage (NOM). NOM has an unlimited amount of money at its disposal and is hell-bent on hurting millions of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Americans every conceivable way possible, especially at the ballot box. In 2009 the Maine State Legislature passed and the Governor signed a historic bill allowing marriage equality in the Pine Tree State. On the first day possible NOM hired professional signature gatherers to qualify a referendum to repeal it. NOM was successful. This year as soon as Washington and Maryland passed marriage equality, NOM hired professional signature gatherers in both states to place referenda on their November ballots to repeal those newly passed laws. In Minnesota NOM lobbied heavily and got the State Legislatur ...
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Huffington Post article
"The Best Thing About the Platform Is That Nobody Cares About the Platform"
Mother Jones - over 4 years
Former GOP presidential candidate and full-time Mitt Romney critic Fred KargerIf you don't count Fred Karger, there was only one gay Republican candidate at the happy hour for gay Republican candidates on Monday at Oystercatchers, an upscale seafood joint in Tampa overlooking the St. Petersburg causeway. Nor, for that matter, in a city that's swimming with Republican political heavyweights, were there any Republican political heavyweights in attendance. That's not much of a surprise for a party whose draft platform sought to deny rights to gay families and tacitly endorsed the persecution of gays in Uganda and other African nations. But Michael Carr, an internet marketer who's running for a state Senate seat in the Denver suburbs, isn't particularly bothered by the GOP's anti-gay platform. "The best thing about the platform is that nobody cares about the platform," Carr says. A member of former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman's LGBT steering committee (Huntsman was the only GOP candidate wi ...
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Mother Jones article
Steve Lopez: Defending free speech, not bigotry, at Chick-fil-A
LATimes - over 4 years
The story of Chick-fil-A, the national chain whose boss raised a storm with his declaration against gay marriage, reminded me of a similar flare-up a few years ago at El Coyote restaurant on Beverly Boulevard in West Los Angeles. Late in 2008, El Coyote was the scene of protests that brought out police in riot gear. The trouble began after it was revealed that Marjorie Christoffersen, whose family owns the restaurant, had donated $100 to the Yes on Proposition 8 campaign through her Mormon church. Proposition 8 banned gay marriage and had just been passed by California voters, and many of El Coyote’s loyal gay patrons, among others, felt betrayed by Christoffersen, who was the face of the restaurant. I took a lot of heat at the time for defending Christoffersen in a column, with readers thinking I was too sympathetic even though I made clear I didn't share her beliefs in the least. I support gay marriage, but also the right of people to freely express their views, no matter how o ...
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LATimes article
Fred Karger ends presidential bid
LATimes - over 4 years
Fred Karger, the openly gay Republican who ran for president without ever expecting to win, ended his quixotic campaign Friday.
Article Link:
LATimes article
Fred Karger Gets Anti Gay Rant In Utah
Outtake - over 4 years
A not so funny thing happened to gay Republican Presidential candidate Fred Karger this week while campaigning in Utah. First he had what he thought was a great meeting with the Washington County GOP Chairman Willie Billings. Then a few hours later he received this nasty anti gay email from his wife Nanette Billings, “you are an idiot. You met with my husband Willie Billings today about you being on the Utah ballot. He brought your frisby, and tshirt home & it is now out in the trash. I never want to hear from such a radical idiot again. you think you are conseritave? conseritave means you beleive in the values of founding fathers and God. Do you know you cant procreate right? Well thank goodness for that.” First of all in our No No to Nanette who should learn about spell-check. So then she added more insult to injury when Yahoo contacted her to confirm she sent the email she added, "My feeling is the only reason he's running for president is to find more [sexual] partners. To get ...
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Outtake article
Anti Gay Forces Alive in Washington State
Outtake - over 4 years
The anti gay forces turned out in numbers collecting 241,00 signatures to put gay marriage on the November ballot in Washington State. This happened at the same time that California’s ethics office announced that it will investigate Fred Karger’s complaint against the Washington, DC based National Organization for Marriage. In his sworn complaint of May 17th, Karger alleged that NOM did not report over $340,000 that it raised to pass Proposition 8 four years ago. California joins the state of Maine which is in its third year of its investigation of NOM, the leading anti gay marriage organization in the country. Even before the Washington State bill was signed in February political observers expected it to be challenged at the ballot box in November. The outcome is far from certain even in a state as politically liberal & Democratic as Washington. So as the signatures are checked for authenticity we have to keep up the good fight that it's totally wrong for the majority to vote on ...
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Outtake article
Fred Karger: Why I am Still Running for President
Huffington Post - over 4 years
I began this long campaign twenty-seven months ago with a trip to Washington, DC, New York and New Hampshire. I left my home in Laguna Beach for the wintry freeze of February back east. It was two weeks that would change my life forever. Speaking to 40 students crammed into a basement meeting room at the University of New Hampshire's Municipal Union Building (MUB), I told my story and my idea to the members of the GSA - the Gay Straight Alliance. They were in shock and awe that an openly gay man could actually consider running for President of the United States. I made up mind that night to run and with it make history. It has been nonstop ever since. I have campaigned fulltime in over 30 states, given hundreds of speeches, met tens of thousands of people, heard so many gut-wrenching stories and so many uplifting ones that I often felt I should have gotten a degree in counseling before undertaking this run. I even took a foreign trip to the Mideast and London ...
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Huffington Post article
New LGBT Presidential Election Chart
Outtake - over 4 years
An interesting LGBT Presidential Election Chart comes to us from Ned Flaherty Marriage Equality USA’s Election 2012 Project Manager. It shows that two thirds of all presidential candidates now support 100% of the top LGBTIQ issues: Fred Karger (Republican), Gary Johnson (Libertarian), Jill Stein (Green Party) & President Barack Obama (Democrat). Among the remaining 2 candidates, Ron Paul (Republican) never committed to marriage equality & Mitt Romney reconfirmed on May 9th that he will never do so. Collectively, the presidential candidates now support the top 12 LGBTIQ issues 79%, a historic high point compared to the low of 24% in August 2011, when 10 of the 13 candidates stood squarely against same-gender marriage, in what started as the most anti-gay presidential race in the nation’s history. Support for LGBTIQ issues has increased among voters & candidates every single month, as shown in Marriage Equality USA’s speedy, interactive slide illustration. View New LGBT Pres ...
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Outtake article
The Last Mensch Standing
The Philadelphia Jewish Voice - almost 5 years
Ron Kampeas writes on JTA's Capital J about Fred Karger an also-run in the Republican nomination for President who differs from the better-known also-runs in that he is still running. [Fred Karger] is determinedly cheerful although mindful that he is not going to get the Republican nod for president. As Tablet and others have reported, Karger — who is gay and Jewish — is set on moving his party toward embracing rights for gays. Still, Karger has shown greater staying power than Mitt Romney's other rivals. He's running ads embarrassing the putative nominee on cable news channels in California, ahead of next month's primary.
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The Philadelphia Jewish Voice article
POLL: Obama's Gay Marriage Endorsement Is Turning More Voters Away
Business Insider - almost 5 years
Here's the first poll, from Gallup/USA Today, measuring the effect of Barack Obama's gay marriage endorsement on voters.  It has to be a little troubling that a quarter of Independents say they are less likely to vote for him now. It's also rather strange, considering this Gallup poll from this week that found that 57 percent of Independents think gay marriage should be legal. Also, the endorsement does not appear, at least yet, to have had an overly energizing effect on Obama's Democratic base, with only 24 percent more likely to vote for him. Republicans showed a more passionate response, with 52 percent saying they would be less likely to vote for him.  Overall, though, gay marriage does not figure to be a major issue in the election, with 60 percent of those polled saying it would have no effect on their vote. The poll does show, however, that 51 percent overall do approve of his endorsement. That runs in line with the 50 percent that said they supported it in the Gallu ...
Article Link:
Business Insider article
Obama's gay marriage support resonates in Calif.
The Press Enterprise - almost 5 years
Obama's gay marriage support resonates in Calif. Associated Press - 9 May 2012 21:46-04:00 News Topics: Same sex marriage, Gay rights, Marriage, Presidential elections, Government and politics, Primary elections, Constitutional amendments, Family issues, Social affairs, Human rights and civil liberties, Social issues, National elections, Elections, Constitutions People, Places and Companies: Gavin Newsom, Barack Obama, George W. Bush, Fred Karger, Mitt Romney, George Clooney, Bruce Cohen, California, San Francisco, United States Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Article Link:
The Press Enterprise article
Gay Republican prez candidate Fred Karger praises Obama, hits SF this weekend
The Bay Area Reporter - almost 5 years
Gay Republican presidential candidate Fred Karger praised President Barack Obama today for backing same-sex marriage, putting him again at odds with the leading GOP candidate, former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney. In a release the Long Beach resident sent out this afternoon, Karger applauded Obama “for his strong statement and support for gay marriage today. We welcome him to the fight. He will be a great advocate as we do battle in four states this November.” Karger added that the timing of Obama’s statement, which came during an ABC News interview taped at the White House today, “is particularly helpful in light of the loss we suffered yesterday in North Carolina. It’s nice to have another presidential candidate on board for full equality.” He was referring to the passage of a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage voters in the state approved by more than 60 percent during Tuesday’s primary election. His comments once again highlight a key difference between ...
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The Bay Area Reporter article
Learn about memorable moments in the evolution of Fred Karger
  • 2014
    Age 64
    A documentary about Karger's presidential campaign, Fred, premiered at the Monadnock International Film Festival on April 4, 2014.
    More Details Hide Details 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. Karger is opposed to the closing the Guantanamo Bay detention camp.
  • 2012
    Age 62
    On June 29, 2012, following the Utah Republican presidential primary and the California Democratic presidential primary, Karger officially ended his campaign.
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    This was the day after GOP Presidential candidate Mitt Romney announced forming his 2012 exploratory committee; Karger declared himself the "Anti-Romney" candidate, and later stated that he "plans to run a campaign specifically designed to throw a wrench into Romney's run."
    More Details Hide Details Since making his announcement, Karger has been to Iowa and New Hampshire several times, holding town hall meetings, talking to voters, as well as meeting with political, LGBTQ, AIDS organization leaders and the media.
    His unsuccessful run for the 2012 Republican nomination for President made him America’s first openly gay presidential candidate from either major political party.
    More Details Hide Details Although he has not held elected or public office, Karger has worked on nine presidential campaigns and served as a senior consultant to the campaigns of Presidents Ronald Reagan, George H. W. Bush and Gerald Ford. Karger was a partner at the Dolphin Group, a California campaign consulting firm. He retired after 27 years and has since worked as an activist on gay rights causes, from protecting the gay bar The Boom to using his organization Californians Against Hate to investigate The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) and the National Organization for Marriage's campaigns to repeal the state's same-sex marriage law. His running for the Republican nomination for president made him the first openly gay presidential candidate from a major political party in American history.
  • 2011
    Age 61
    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. In 2011, he attended the American Israel Public Affairs Committee conference.
    More Details Hide Details 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. Karger supported ending the Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy. Karger is a critic of the LDS Church due to that church's opposition to same-sex marriage. 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. Karger supports repealing the Defense of Marriage Act and making same-sex marriage the "law of the land". Karger is a supporter of the second amendment, but feels reasonable restrictions should be placed on high capacity clips and semiautomatic weapons.
    Karger was not present at the debates during 2011 and 2012.
    More Details Hide Details 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.
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    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.
    More Details Hide Details He has been endorsed by The Real World: Washington D.C. cast member Mike Manning.
    In late April 2011, Karger attended the national convention of the Log Cabin Republicans in Dallas, Texas and declared to the conservative gay organization that he wants his presidential campaign to "open up" the Republican Party and send a message to young people and gay people: "You can do anything you want to do."
    More Details Hide Details Karger told OC Weekly that gay Republicans need to "stand up and be proud in a tough atmosphere."
    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.
    More Details Hide Details He defeated Mitt Romney by five votes.
    Karger officially announced his candidacy on March 23, 2011.
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  • 2010
    Age 60
    In November 2010, Karger aired a weeklong ad campaign in Iowa which was described as the first television commercial of the 2012 presidential race.
    More Details Hide Details Steve Scheffler, an Iowa delegate to the national Republican National Committee, has said Karger is part of the radical homosexual community. His campaign has made use of the slogan "Fred Who?" 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." Karger's candidacy has been described as a long shot, with one interviewer indicating that "the question on the minds of many" is "does he think he has a snowball’s chance? The answer to that is, yes and no."
    On July 18, 2010, Karger announced he had formed an exploratory committee for the United States presidential election of 2012.
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    On April 10, 2010, Karger held a press conference at the Southern Republican Leadership Conference (SRLC) in New Orleans, to announce that he was "seriously considering becoming a candidate for President of the United States in 2012 as an Independent Republican."
    More Details Hide Details He attended the SRLC with other potential candidates for the Republican Presidential ticket such as Sarah Palin, Ron Paul, Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich and Gary Johnson.
  • 2009
    Age 59
    In October 2009, Karger and Californians Against Hate filed a formal ethics complaint with the state of Maine against the National Organization for Marriage (NOM), regarding political donor reporting. In response, the Maine Commission on Governmental Ethics and Election Practices launched an investigation of NOM. Maine law requires a disclosure report from any organizations that raises more than $5,000 for a ballot question campaign. NOM had contributed $1.6 million to Stand For Marriage Maine, as of October 23, 2009, without revealing its donors' names.
    More Details Hide Details Karger has repeatedly called for a Congressional Investigation of the National Organization for Marriage due to its late and non-reporting of its federal 990 income tax returns. In the 1990s Karger worked for the tobacco industry to prevent smoking bans in California. 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. Articles
  • 2008
    Age 58
    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.
    More Details Hide Details Karger and Californians Against Hate have waged four boycotts of companies whose families gave large contributions to qualify and pass Proposition 8: 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. He has picketed LDS stores and bookstores. 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. 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. 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, ultimately finding the church guilty of 13 violations, which the LDS Church settled by paying a fine.
  • 2004
    Age 54
    He served as Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer through 2004.
    More Details Hide Details During his tenure, Karger helped lead the campaigns of California Governor George Deukmejian, Lt. Governor 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. 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.
  • 1977
    Age 27
    Karger's political career began with the Dolphin Group in 1977.
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    However, Karger continued to follow his passion for politics, and eventually landed with the Dolphin Group in 1977.
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  • 1975
    Age 25
    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 Law; Rich Man, Poor Man; Horshack! (a pilot for a spinoff from Welcome Back Kotter); and Airport – 1975.
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  • 1968
    Age 18
    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. Karger graduated from New Trier High School in 1968 and earned a B.A. in speech communications from the University of Denver in 1972.
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  • 1950
    Age 0
    Born on January 31, 1950.
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