I worked in politics and governmental affairs for over 30 years in California, and was very lucky to have learned from the best, Bill Roberts. I met Bill on Bob Finch’s campaign for U. S. Senate in 1976 when I volunteered full time to help the former California Lt. Governor and Cabinet Secretary. Bill came in late to try and salvage the near broke campaign.
We lost, but Bill thought I had talent and hired me to work for his new political consulting firm the Dolphin Group. I came to work on a three month special election in 1977 and retired 27 years later. Bill died in 1988 when he was only 62, but for eleven years he taught me everything about politics and campaigns as we worked together for Ronald Reagan, George Deukmejian, John Connally, Maureen Reagan, Bob Dole, Steve Horn and lots more.
I had a secret all those years or at least I thought I did. I was gay and figured that it might not be a real asset in Republican politics. So I kept my secret until after I retired in 2004, and then I came bursting out of the closet. In 2008 I stepped up to the plate to help defeat Proposition 8. I started Californians Against Hate (now Rights Equal Rights) to take on the mega donors who gave the millions to pass that hateful Constitutional Amendment to take away gay marriage in California.
My new activism also served to let the world know that I was gay. Not normally a big deal, but I had worked on some pretty big campaigns over three decades so it was somewhat newsworthy.
I liked my new life. I could be out front and out. No more secrets, my life was finally an open book.
Well, now what I thought? I was out of the closet so nothing was holding me back from following my dream. After about 18 months of thought, lots of discussion and seeing how all went on my activism, I decided to run for President of the United States. Preposterous? Yes, but something I felt very strongly about.
So now after 20 months it has been a real roller coaster. I have been to New Hampshire 21 times and Iowa 9. I have been all over the country nonstop. I have had great success for a first time candidate, and also have had plenty of doors slammed in my face by lots of surprising and not so surprising organizations. I been profiled and covered extensively by national newspapers, online publications, blogs, radio, TV and cable networks, international media and covered regularly by LGBT media. It’s all mostly on our web site: www.fredkarger.com
It’s been quite a whirlwind. I’ve been accused of “having fun” by Rick Santorum and been shunned by some pretty well known people. I’ve been left out of the first eight debates, even though I qualified for three of them. I’ve been at it full time for twenty months and going to say in until the GOP Convention in Tampa next August. As I make history as the first openly gay candidate to run for President of either major political party I am affecting so many lives and hearing from so many people young and old about the important impact that I am having on their lives.
So as I gear up to spend the next several months in the Granite State and log another 1,000 miles per week on my California SUV, I am excited to be here and up for the challenge.
I want to take my Reaganesque message of optimism and bringing back the American spirit to all who will listen. I want to help turn this country around just like my old boss did 30 years ago.
So stay tuned. Follow my historic campaign on twitter @fredkarger, facebook and our web site www.fredkarger.com And for a real insight, check out my newly release memoirs, Fred Who? Political Insider to Outsider. It’s up on Kindle, nook and iBooks or at www.fredkargerstore.com The hardcover and paperback will be out November 1st. It’s written by Steve Fiffer who wrote James Baker III’s memoirs and is already getting great reviews. I think you will enjoy it.