Windy City Media Group Frontpage News
Celebrating 30 Years of Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Trans News
home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2018-04-18
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage

Sponsor
Sponsor

  WINDY CITY TIMES

Fred Karger: Gay GOP candidate with presidential aspirations
by Ross Forman
2010-11-24

facebook twitter pin it del.icio.us stumble upon digg google +1 reddit email


Fred Karger went on a trip last February to Washington D.C., New York and New Hampshire. He wanted to see and hear first-hand the responses to his plan to run for president of the United States.

Karger, a Republican, got favorable responses in the nation's capitol and in New York, though nothing overwhelming either way, pro or con.

"I was planning to drop out," Karger admits months later.

Then he went to the key political state of New Hampshire, including a meeting with about 35 students from the University of New Hampshire's Gay-Straight Alliance ( GSA ) . They were sitting on the floor at the university's student center, and Karger spoke, almost ad lib.

"These kids convinced me, without saying anything," that I should run, Karger said. "The look and the feel of these students was as if to say, 'A gay man can run for president, that's great!'

"They seemed enthralled," and Karger has stayed in contact with many from that meeting via social media.

The next night, he met with nine students at Dartmouth—and got the same, uplifting response.

"Those two meetings are what did it," Karger said. "As I've said since day one, the reason I'm doing this is, I want to do this for the younger generation; I don't want them to have to go through the hell that so many of us have [ while ] growing up.

"The positive reinforcement [ I received ] from these college students … I knew then that I was on the right track and I knew it was something I wanted to do."

So yes, Fred Karger the fighter, Fred Karger the activist, Fred Karger the Chicagoan is also, potentially, Fred Karger the candidate for the highest elected office in this country.

Well, he might be a candidate.

At the end of the summer of 2010, he officially established the Fred Karger Presidential Exploratory Committee.

Fred Karger wants a shot at Washington.

"I'm very seriously considering [ running ] and trying to position myself to be competitive, which is very difficult for a first-time, unknown candidate," he said. "I've got some things going for me and things have been exceeding my expectations at this point.

"When I started this process, I didn't know if I would catch on at all."

But he has.

His campaign includes a catchy "Fred Who?" slogan, but he's getting his word out.

Karger, who now lives in southern California, has adopted a two-state strategy, looking at Iowa and New Hampshire, where he has spent the bulk of his time and where he is focused for the foreseeable future.

"I wanted to meet a lot of the critical establishments [ in those two states ] , go to a lot of the colleges and universities [ in those states ] , and talk to the media," Karger said. "I've been treated more seriously [ in Iowa and New Hampshire ] than I would have in other states because, in those two states, they are so focused on the presidential campaign, even two years early.

"If I'm in a restaurant in Los Angeles and tell the waiter that I'm thinking of running for President and give them a sticker or t-shirt, they may look at me and think I'm crazy. But if I do that same thing in, say, Manchester, N.H., or Des Moines, Iowa, they will stop in their tracks and engage in serious conversation. And then when I meet with political people or the press in Manchester or Des Moines, it's truly magnified. They are far more interested."

Yes, Karger would be the first openly gay candidate in history.

"As out of left field as I'm coming, it's not as crazy [ as it may sound ] if you look at my resume and see that I've been involved in politics, starting with Charles Percy in 1966. I've been involved [ in politics ] for 44 years, though not full-time," Karger said.

Karger graduated from New Trier High School in Winnetka in 1968, then spent four years at the University of Denver. His resume includes experience in politics and governmental affairs for 35 years. As a partner of the Dolphin Group, Karger managed numerous federal, state and local campaigns. He ran several successful opposition campaigns, including heavy involvement in three Presidential races.

In 2006, Karger founded Save the Boom, a grassroots campaign to save the oldest gay bar in the Western United States: the landmark Boom Boom Room and Coast Inn in Laguna Beach, Calif. He then started Californians Against Hate, created to bring public attention to the major donors to the Yes on Proposition 8 campaign. Karger organized boycotts against four mega-donors to Proposition 8.

"I started looking into the idea of running for president during the summer of 2009," Karger said. "I've seen one very substantial poll state that the majority of Americans would support an openly gay candidate for president much more than they are for gay marriage.

"In my life, we certainly have seen a change in the acceptance of/for gay people, including candidates, actors, businessmen, neighbors, etc."

Karger came out to some at 18 in 1968, the year before Stonewall.

"I think people are more comfortable with gay people today; I think my timing is excellent," he said.

Karger spent time in the 1970s as an actor in commercials, television and film, including an appearance in Airport 1975.

Now his life is centered on Iowa and New Hampshire, where he is renting a home. Karger will travel New Hampshire repeatedly and extensively to cultivate voters, especially the 18- to 29-year-olds. He plans extensive walking campaigns across the state, introducing himself door to door.

His goal is to give away one campaign frisbee to every household in New Hampshire. "I want to make it fun, social," said Karger, who recently hired his first college coordinator—at the University of New Hampshire. Ultimately, he will have five college coordinators, "to help make this political [ machine ] go."

"There are times when I get these moments when I cannot believe I am going through this effort. I thought for so long that, being openly gay, I could never run for any [ political ] office, let alone president of the United States. That weighs very heavy on me.

Just being able to go into the New Hampshire Republican party office and speak with the executive director as an openly gay Republican … and yet I never, ever in my wildest dreams thought that would happen."

Karger has been self-funding his drive so far, and will for the rest of 2010. Next year, the fundraising truly starts. "There's a huge amount of work to do," Karger said. "The reporters who I have spoken to, and I'm talking about reporters who have covered politics for years or decades, are taking me very serious. That's encouraging."

Karger, who came out publicly a little over four years ago, still returns to Chicago several times annually. And he still calls Chicago home.

"It's always home, and always will be home," he said. "I have a great pride in the city. Chicago was an ideal place for me to grow up. I still have a lot of close friends living in Chicago."

Karger came out to family and some friends during the summer between high school and college. He found his first true love in 1971, and quickly fell in love, "and knew then that [ being gay ] was OK because he was a wonderful role model and he got me over all of my angst and fear."

Karger added: "Chicago is a very special place. I feel comfortable in Chicago; it's where a big part of me was shaped. I've had a lot of happy times in Chicago, and also a lot of difficult times struggling with my sexual orientation."


facebook twitter pin it del.icio.us stumble upon digg google +1 reddit email




Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

OUT at CHM Undocumented and Queer panel April 24 2018-04-23
Illinois Senate Democratic Victory Fund hires Tom Elliott as Communications Director 2018-04-19
Acceptance of LGBT people and rights has increased around the world 2018-04-19
Free Interactive Workshop on Racial Justice, April 28 at University Church 2018-04-19
HRC series exposes Pence's career of attacks on LGBTQ Americans 2018-04-19
PM expresses regret for anti-LGBT laws 2018-04-19
Schock corruption trial continues 2018-04-18
Judge rules lawsuit over anti-trans Trump ban will go to trial 2018-04-18
Illinoisans lobby on behalf of curriculum bill 2018-04-18
Log Cabin Republicans claims to be locally reactivated 2018-04-18
WORLD Anti-gay law, Middle East report, serial killer 2018-04-17
NATIONAL Military ban, Joy Reid, Sen. Doug Jones 2018-04-17
Activist Green to announce 2019 mayoral bid 2018-04-15
LGBT candidates positioned to help Democrats take back House and Senate majority 2018-04-15
Former Lambda attorney kills self over environment 2018-04-15
Lambda Legal Challenge to Military Trans Ban on Course to Proceed to Trial 2018-04-14
Trinidad and Tobago: Court Overturns Same-Sex Intimacy Ban 2018-04-13
DOJ proposes roll back of data collection on crime victimization of LGBT youth 2018-04-11
Guzzardi files bill expanding employment protections 2018-04-11
'Bolder Than Out' features variety show, panel discussion 2018-04-11
Curriculum work, ERA among EI agenda items 2018-04-11
'On the Table' to return May 8 2018-04-11
LGBTs to be excluded from 2020 Census 2018-04-11
LGBTQ Advocacy Day on April 11 2018-04-11
Community, activists meet with AG's staff on policing issues 2018-04-11
Pulse nightclub owner speaks about onePULSE Foundation 2018-04-11
Ex-Houston mayor at EI Pride Brunch June 3 2018-04-11
Town hall examines Latinx issues 2018-04-11
NATIONAL Anchorage vote, eighth trans murder, Grindr apology 2018-04-10
WORLD Chechen persecution, trans chef, teen attacker 2018-04-10
Ronan Farrow comes out at Point Foundation event 2018-04-10
New Equal Rights Amendment Coloring Book educates on women's rights laws 2018-04-10
National LGBTQ Task Force names Andy Garcia new Director of Creating Change 2018-04-10
ERA Illinois coalition to lobby Illinois State Capitol April 10 2018-04-09
Equality Illinois Urges State Legislators to Ratify the Equal Rights Amendment 2018-04-09
New Data Analysis Casts Doubt on Pentagon Claims about Unfitness of Transgender Troops 2018-04-09
Anchorage Voters Reject Discriminatory Proposition 1 2018-04-07
Rally and Speak-out Against Confederate Monument April 7 2018-04-05
Women's Group on Ouster of Williamson from Atlantic 2018-04-05
AMA disputes transgender military policy in letter to Sec. Def. Mattis 2018-04-04
 



Copyright © 2018 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.

 

 

 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS

Sponsor
Sponsor


 



Sponsor

About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage


About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Subscriptions      Distribution      Windy City Queercast     
Queercast Archives      Advertising  Rates      Deadlines      Advanced Search     
Press  Releases      Event Photos      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Submit an Event      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Blogs      Spotlight  Video     
Classifieds      Real Estate      Place a  Classified     

Windy City Media Group produces Windy City Queercast, & publishes Windy City Times,
The Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community,
Nightspots, Out! Resource Guide, and Identity.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.