Perry included in NH debate even though he does not qualify

Fred Karger

Fred Karger, the first Republican to declare his run for the White House this year, has been shut out of all of the debates but has been a good watchdog on the other Republican candidates. He found that Texas Gov. Rick Perry does not qualify to be in Tuesday’s Republican presidential debate.

Over the weekend Karger sent a complaint to New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg who also owns Bloomberg News. That organization is the sponsor of a debate at Dartmouth College in New Hampshire along with Washington Post and WBIN TV.

According to Karger’s research, candidates had to meet all four of the following criteria to participate:

A. Received measurable popular support in a range of national polls.

B. Campaign reported at least half a million dollars raised in its FEC filing through the 2011 second quarter reporting period.

C. Is a legally qualified candidate for the Republican nomination for President.

D. Participated in at least three nationally televised Republican Presidential debates during the 2012 election cycle.

Karger, who is gay, has been kept out of the debates because of the first criteria. The original standard was a candidate had to poll 1 percent in five national polls. Once Karger met that baseline, sponsoring news organizations raised the percent and have continued keeping him out.

His campaign checked the eight candidates who were invited to the Dartmouth debate and found that Rick Perry does not qualify, even though he will be included.

“Rick Perry was not a candidate by the end of 2nd quarter and has not filed any FEC fundraising reports,” Karger wrote in an email to Dallas Voice and other news organizations so he does not qualify under criteria B.

Perry entered the race on Aug. 12 and will not have to file a report with the Federal Election Commission until the end of this quarter.

—  David Taffet

FEC looking into Karger’s complaint against Fox

Fred Karger

Gay presidential candidate Fred Karger says he received confirmation today from the Federal Election Commission that it is looking into a complaint he filed against Fox News owner Rupert Murdoch.

Karger charges that he was excluded from an Aug. 11 Republican presidential debate even though he met all of the requirements.

Murdoch must now respond to the charges.

Karger filed an 82-page complaint under the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971. H claims he met Fox’s “pre-established objective criteria.”

Among the requirements was polling at an average of 1 percent in five national polls.

Karger claims he met that requirement when he received 2 percent in the Harris Interactive national survey released on Aug. 4. In that poll he tied with former Govs. Tim Pawlenty of Minnesota and Jon Huntsman of Utah, both of whom were allowed in the debate.

Karger claims that after he met the requirement, Fox changed its criteria to exclude him.

“I qualified for last month’s Fox News Channel Debate fair-and-square, and was fully expecting to be on that stage in Ames,” Karger said. “For some reason, Fox News did not want me debating the other presidential candidates.”

He hopes the FEC acts quickly so that Fox will be forced to allow him to participate in the next Fox debate, scheduled for Sept. 22 in Orlando.

“The FEC has very specific rules dealing with these debates, and Fox certainly appears to have broken them,” Karger said.

—  David Taffet

Fox continues to exclude Karger from debates

Fred Karger

Fred Karger, the first openly gay person to file with the Federal Election Commission to run for president, has spent more time campaigning in New Hampshire than any other candidate and is preparing to participate in the Iowa Straw Poll. And although Karger meets all criteria, Fox News is not allowing him to participate in the upcoming candidate’s debate in Iowa.

“I read in the press like everyone else on Friday that in spite of meeting all its debate criteria, Fox News still refuses to allow me a place on the stage in Ames, Iowa this Thursday evening,” Karger wrote. “By not including me, even though I have qualified for the debate, Fox News appears to be in violation of Federal Election Commission rules governing all Presidential Debates. Fox released its debate criteria two weeks ago, which I clearly have met.”

Attorneys for the Karger campaign are preparing a complaint to be filed with the FEC.

Among the Fox News criteria is that to qualify for the debate, a candidate must average 1 percent in five national polls. In a recent Harris Interactive poll, Karger received 2 percent. He also received 1 percent in a Zogby poll and others.

In its response to the Karger campaign, Fox News disqualified both polls, but the network regularly cites the Zogby poll in its coverage.

In a Synovate Study released this week, Karger polls at 1 percent. Fox debate participants Rick Santorum and Jon Huntsman were at just 2 percent in the same poll. Tim Pawlenty received 2 percent in the Harris poll and will also participate in the Fox debate.

The Los Angeles Times ran a story on Karger today discounting any chance of his winning. But they wrote that he has been haunted by the memory of his gay uncle who committed suicide and that he has a message to LGBT youth:

“I want to send the message to gay younger people and older people and everyone in between that you can do anything you want in life, and don’t feel bad about yourself and don’t feel you have to live your life the way I did,” Karger told the newspaper.

—  David Taffet

Openly gay candidate Fred Karger is 1st Republican to file to run for president in 2012

Fred Karger

Fred Karger, an openly gay Republican, this morning became the first person to file paperwork with the Federal Election Commission to run for president in 2012.

He becomes the first openly gay candidate to ever run for president.

Karger has worked on a variety of Republican campaigns including Reagan-Bush in 1984. From 1977 until he retired in 2004, he was vice president of the Dolphin Group, a political consulting company.

In 2008, he founded and became co-director of Californians Against Hate in reaction to Proposition 8. He filed formal ethics violation complaints leading to investigations of the Mormon Church and the National Organization for Marriage in California and Maine. He organized four boycotts of companies that donated more than $100,000 to the Yes on 8 campaign.

Karger doesn’t expect to do well among religious conservatives, but his strategy is to win in early primary and caucus states New Hampshire and Iowa. Both of those states have large numbers of independent voters and both have legalized same-sex marriage.

By this time in the 2008 campaign cycle, at least a dozen candidates had announced that they were running in the two parties. Yesterday, former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty announced he was forming an exploratory committee, the first step in becoming a candidate. He is the only candidate other than Karger to formalize his plans.

Other Republicans have indicated that they are deciding whether to run, but no others have announced. Former Ark. Gov. Mike Huckabee said he would have to walk away from a lucrative deal with Fox to run. Donald Trump said he’s considering a run but due to contractual constraints, he can’t make an announcement until the season of The Apprentice ends.

Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie are also potential candidates. Jimmy McMillan, the New Yorker who ran for mayor on the Rent Is Too Damn High Party, said he plans to run as a Republican.

Although Karger is the first openly gay man to run for president, James Buchanan, the 15th president, is the only one to have never married and was probably gay. He lived with Franklin Pierce’s Vice President Rufus King whose nicknames were Aunt Fancy, Miss Nancy and Mrs. Buchanan. King died while in office. Nieces of the two men destroyed their correspondence after their deaths so little written evidence of their relationship remains.

—  David Taffet