Fred Karger is setting the record straight (no pun intended) about openly gay candidates running for president. Regardless of how the media reports on Pete Buttigieg’s campaign, he is not the first openly gay man running for the top job. Fred Karger takes that distinction and he wants you to know it.
Karger is a Republican. He is, however, willing to leave the party in order to vote for Mayor Pete in the Democrat primary. I admit I’ve never heard of Mr. Karger despite watching American politics since my high school days. Karger has been a Republican for nearly 50 years. He says he ran for president as a Republican in 2012. Now he supports gay candidates regardless of party and this cycle his support, including major fundraising efforts, go to Pete Buttigieg’s campaign. For him, it is more about sexual identity than it is political party affiliation.
At age 69, Fred Karger is a retired California political consultant. He doesn’t want his historic presidential run erased in favor of Buttigieg’s campaign. It’s personal for him.
Karger has been on a mission to make sure history gets it right. While some have labeled Buttigieg – a Democrat – as the first openly gay presidential candidate, Karger explains he was the first, running as a Republican in 2012.
“So it’s important that LGBT history be told correctly, and that’s a big part of why I’m doing this,” Karger said.
He grew up in Chicago and became an actor in Los Angeles. He appeared in shows like “McMillan & Wife,” then worked as a political strategist for decades. He came out to friends and family at age 41.
“I’d had a gay uncle who committed suicide when I was 21. It really affected me. I figured that’s how I would end my life eventually,” Karger said.
In May The Hollywood Reporter reported that Karger was scheduled to co-host a fundraiser for Buttigieg, along with other well-heeled entertainment contributors at the Beverly Hills home of Ryan Murphy, a screenwriter, director, and producer. Karger is a former actor, with Welcome Back, Kotter on his resume. Karger said that the tickets were not at all difficult to sell at $2,800 for the champion level and $1,500 for the advocate level.
“I sent out the invite to people I thought could afford it and it took off,” explains Karger, who still identifies as a Republican though he has spent the past 15 years working as an activist for LGBTQ issues. Though he retired from politics, Karger, 69, is now segueing back into Tinseltown, producing a docuseries on the Mormon church. “The excitement with Pete Buttigieg is unlike anything I’ve ever seen, and his rise even feels quicker than Barack Obama.”
Karger says voters — and the media — are flocking to him, and he’s never seen anything like it. “He was a blip or an asterisk 13 weeks ago when he announced [an exploratory committee] and he’s come so far since then,” Karger says. “It’s such a big field with 21 candidates now, but he stands out for his way, way, way above average intelligence, compassion and delivery. He doesn’t sound like a politician — the other 21 candidates sound like politicians. Plus, he’s relatable. A pleasant, decent person, and he really exemplifies that. The public is tired of the status quo and wants somebody who is different. He’s as opposite to Donald Trump as you can get.”
Alas, the fundraiser was postponed. It will have to be rescheduled at a later date because Mayor Pete’s day job got in the way of his grand adventure running for president. He promised his city’s residents that he will get to the bottom of an officer-involved shooting. This matter demands his attention over being in California raking in the big bucks in L.A., San Diego, and San Francisco.
Too bad Karger has chosen to forsake his political principles in the name of identity politics. It’s true that Mayor Pete comes off as a likable kind of guy in interviews and on the campaign trail. The problem is, though, that once anyone listens to what he has to say it becomes evident that he is just another leftist. His opinions lean solidly left and many are far left views. He even picked a random fight with Vice-President Pence over Pence’s alleged dislike of gay Americans though Pence and Buttigieg had a cordial working relationship during Pence’s time as Governor of Indiana. Buttigieg did it as a political stunt and continued to do it long after it became clear it was a bogus storyline. That is what pursuing identity politics does to a candidate. In the case of Pete Buttigieg, he introduced himself to voters as one who can appeal to all Americans – he’s a military veteran, well-educated, and touts his religious faith. It didn’t take long, though for that to change into his label as the first openly gay candidate for president. How 2019 for all of that to evolve into a Republican correcting the record and signing up as a supporter of Mayor Pete.