Most emails evoke a response. The one received this week by Fred Karger provoked tears. He learned California’s secretary of state will allow him to appear on the state’s primary ballot as one of only six Republican candidates, said Karger, the first openly gay candidate making a bid for president of the United States.
The former political consultant joins the five remaining Republicans Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich, Ron Paul, Rick Santorum and Buddy Roemer in battling for California’s 172 delegates in the June 5 primary.
With California, Karger has now managed to enter the primaries in five states — New Hampshire, Michigan, Maryland and North Carolina – and Puerto Rico. Karger pulled in 485 votes in his first contest last month in New Hampshire, more that Minnesota Rep. Michelle Bachmann, who had dropped her bid days earlier. He hopes to find out about getting on the ballot in New York sometime next week, and believes that getting on California’s ballot should improve his chances.
“I am proud to be the first Laguna Beach resident to be on a presidential primary ballot in California,” said Karger, who is hoping for local support. “I’ll be campaigning all over California, but I know that I will really look forward to campaigning in my home town.”
Karger lauded California Secretary of State Debra Bowen for including him on the ballot. “There are 37 million residents of California and 17 million voters,” he said. “This sends a powerful message to the entire lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community that you can do anything that you want to do; even run for president of the United States.”
Karger headed to Washington, D.C. earlier this week for the annual Conservative Political Action Conference, held Feb. 8-12. Then he’ll make his way to Michigan in anticipation of that state’s Feb. 28 primary.
“It’s been a long road to get to where I am,” said Karger, whose mission going forward is to “do my absolute best to get my moderate and inclusive message out to all the voters.”