Fred Karger, the first ever openly gay Republican nominee for POTUS, ended his campaign this week, but he’s not going quietly–he refuses to endorse Mitt Romney, and he’s recorded a video shaming the Mormon church for its opposition to gay equality.
Says Karger in a press statement: “After 2 1/2 years of campaigning as a candidate for President of the United States I am officially ending my historic campaign today June 29, 2012. It’s been one hell of a ride, and I want to thank the thousands of people across this country who volunteered, contributed, opened their homes, came to our events and cheered me on. 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.”
Karger, a seasoned politician, has worked on nine Presidential campaigns including stints as senior consultants to Presidents Ronald Reagan, George H. W. Bush and Gerald Ford. Despite no official support from the GOP at large and little coverage from the mainstream media, he managed to win a number of straw polls and seemed to relish the chance to debate anti-gay conservative stalwarts.
“It’s been the experience of a lifetime,” Karger’s statement continues, “I’ve made many new friends and undoubtedly picked up a few more detractors. I hope and trust that my discussion of the key issues helped to open dialog on fixing the economy, balancing the federal budget, creating jobs, education reform, the environment, immigration reform, ending the Iraq and Afghanistan wars and fighting for full equality for all lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Americans. We must move forward on these issues and many more.”
Karger was kept out of several Republican debates and faced what appeared to be discriminatory treatment when he was denied a booth at C-PAC 2011, all of which he has not shied away from, filing several ethics and legal complaints that are still ongoing. In announcing the end of his campaign however, he seems keen to focus on the positives:
“A big thank you goes out to our incredible campaign team, most of whom have been around for nearly the entire 2 1/2 years. Your dedication, spirit and great ideas made all the difference. 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.”
However, Karger isn’t quite finished stirring up trouble. In his farewell statement Karger then goes on to take a swipe at the Mormon church, saying: “We closed our Utah Primary campaign with a big bang by airing the hard-hitting commercial “STOP THE HATE!!!” aimed at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon Church). It was produced and directed by Melanie Marden of MM Films, LLC.”
Karger has a history with the Church of Latter Day Saints. After a 30 year career in politics, Karger retired in 2004 and became an LGBTQ activist. During the summer of 2008, he discovered the Mormon Church had used its finances to support California’s Proposition 8 and filed a sworn complaint with the California Ethics Commission against the Mormon Church. Following an 18 month investigation the Church was found guilty of misusing its funds for political ends and was fined.
You can watch Karger’s parting gift to the Mormon church, and by proxy Mitt Romney, below: