The L.A. Times Looks at Fred Karger’s Presidential Campaign, and His Closeted Past

The L.A. Times is running a profile on gay GOP presidential candidate Fred Karger who is still being excluded from the FOX News debate this Thursday, even though he has met all the qualifications.

Filing_karger The LAT profile looks at why Karger is spending his money on a campaign in which he realizes there is no chance he will be the GOP nominee…

By running for president and trying to get on stage for at least one debate — the overriding goal of his candidacy — Karger hopes to send a message to people like himself: a boy growing up outside Chicago and, later, a closeted adult, shamed by society's view of his sexuality and too scared to admit, even to himself, who he was…

…It turns out he was a lot like his Uncle Buddy, to whom he bore a striking resemblance. When he was 19, Karger visited a gay bar for the first time and in walked Buddy. Karger fled before he was spotted. Two years later, his uncle killed himself, blaming his male lover in a suicide note. He was 42.

The story has become a part of Karger's campaign, shared with audiences. At a San Francisco fundraiser this summer, he looked on impassively as a group of 25 gay men watched his video image, projected on the wall of a small loft, matter-of-factly discussing the tragedy. His calmness belies the trauma at the time. Karger wondered whether he'd see 42; his parents' shame and horror at Buddy's death drove him even deeper into the closet.

Gay Presidential Candidate Fred Karger Has a Message [la times]


  1. Chadd says

    Clearly the GOP and its Media division, Fox News, don’t want Karger. The GOP will not promote or support him because they don’t promote or support anything to do with LGBT issues. The GOP probably wishes that Karger and all LGBT people would just go away. I respect him for being an openly gay candidate, but why he would align with a political machine that clear does not want him is a mystery to me. The same can be said for any “Gay Republican”.

  2. Josh says

    The involvement with fake tobacco advocacy groups on behalf of Phillip Morris Co., Willie Horton smearing of Dukakis, advising campaigns of Deukmejian, Reagan, Bush I, remaining closeted to the wider world until he was 56. Not good. But his Californians Against Hate has been a big scab on the back of Prop 8 supporters. Good. The LA Times provides biographical insight into the mind of the “gay conservative” but I came away thinking that he needs psychotherapy, not a political platform. When the right gay candidate comes along, we’ll all know it.

  3. Brains says

    I tend to agree with Josh; especially since I have had the uncomfortable experience of meeting “Fred!”

    Yet again he is wasting his life chasing after a “status” which he will never obtain: he simply did not learn anything in that dark closet!

    Maybe managing HRC, or a similar organization would be a better endeavor.

    May then he could take sometime and interact with individuals out of his “so called” social group… and learn basic morals and scruples!

  4. Jack says


    So being gay and having conservative values (I meant real conservative, not fake religiously-inspired conservative), and being closeted until later in life means that someone needs psychotherapy?

  5. Chitown Kev says

    Agreed on the Willie Horton thing, but…

    If Ken Mehlman will be allowed to make continuing amends (and to my way of thinking, he will never complete those amends), if George Wallace was (to a large extent) forgiven for rhetoric far more damaging than anything that Karger ever did, then I say leave Karger alone and let him do his thing.

    I wouldn’t vote for him but I sincerly would like to see Karger become a voice on the conservative side, in the very least.

  6. me says

    @Jack, @homophobia, it could also be ignorant rather than immoral.

    e.g. if you don’t realize that where you are is due more to luck than anything inherent about you, and therefore don’t want to help the less fortunate and want small government/laissez-faire, then you’d just be ignorant.

    or let’s say you don’t want a short-term stimulus, because you don’t realize that it will boost the economy and pay for itself while improving short-term unemployment and the deficit. again, ignorance but not immoral.

  7. Von Lmo says

    I expected Karger to have run a much edgier campaign than he has so far. He worked w Lee Atwater so he knows how to play dirty. Karger has been a very disappointing candidate.

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