Doors closing for only gay Republican candidate in US presidential race

PinkNews logo with white background and rainbow corners

Fred Karger, an independent Republican candidate claims to have been shut out of major conferences in the lead-up to the US presidential campaigns.

The Californian Republican party’s state convention is a new straw poll intended to promote media interest. Karger claims he was told “the schedule is completely filled”.

He told the San Francisco Chronicle he had also been uninvited from the Conservative Political Action Conference in February 2011.

The head of the Karger campaign said they had been told there were no longer any booths available, despite having already reserved one. When he called back, pretending to enquire on behalf of another candidate, he was offered space.

Karger, 61, formally announced his candidacy in March of this year.

Shortly after, won the Saint Anselm College Republicans Presidential Straw Poll in Manchester, New Hampshire, receiving 25% of the vote. He defeated favored candidate Mitt Romney by five votes, out of 322. Donald Trump came in third.

In his time as a political campaign consultant, he helped run the campaigns of several notable politicians, including Bob Dole.

Jimmy LaSalvia, who heads GOProud, a national Republican organization that supports gay rights told the San Francisco Chronicle Karger was not being discriminated against.

He said: “Fred Karger is not a credible candidate. I would love for there to be an openly gay, credible candidate for president who was out there making a case for why they would be better than Barack Obama.

“Unfortunately, Fred Karger is playing a stunt, and his stunt has run its course. His whole schtick is … running around the country with a rainbow flag, saying ‘I’m the gay guy.’

“But he hasn’t made a case about why he should be president of the United States.”

On 13 July, 2011, Karger called fellow GOP presidential candidate Michele Bachmann a “liar, hypocrite, and bigot” when she refused to comment on allegations that her husband was using conversion therapy in his clinic to attempt to cure gays of homosexuality.