Documentary Chronicles Fred Karger’s Quest to Become a Gay GOP Presidential Nominee

A gay candidate for U.S. President? A gay Republican candidate for U.S. President? That was Fred Karger in 2012, the Laguna Beach resident described on television as “the gay rights bogeyman of the GOP presidential race.”

Fred Karger
Fred Karger

Now Karger has released a trailer for the documentary about his campaign that will premiere in April. The filmmaker was John Fitzgerald Keitel, a friend of Karger’s, who for two and a half years traveled with him across the country to campaign.

Needless to say, Karger didn’t win the GOP nomination. That went to the guy who strapped his dog on the top of his car while driving from Boston to Ontario for a family vacation.

Karger’s campaign focused on acceptance of same-sex marriage, a position that upset fellow Republicans in places like Utah.

Karger, who spent $500,000 of his own money on the campaign, called it quits in June 2012. In an email to supporters, he said: “It’s been one hell of a ride, and I want to thank the thousands of people across this country who volunteered, contributed, opened their homes, came to our events and cheered me on.”

Karger, 64, spent almost three decades as a campaign consultant to California Republicans. Among his clients were Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush and California Gov. George Deukmejian and corporate clients like Philip Morris. He came out as a gay man in 2006, after his parents died and he retired.