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As better-known candidates trod the landscape and crowd the airwaves, pleading for votes in Michigan’s Republican primary, the first openly gay GOP presidential hopeful is plotting a minor upset.
Fred Karger hopes the state’s primary rules will land him a mid-Michigan miracle and a handful of delegates to the national convention.
The retired California businessman has had a lot of trouble getting to share a stage with the other Republicans running. In fact, his campaign slogan is “Fred Who?”
“You know, had I gotten on an earlier debate, things might be very different,” Karger says, “because there is this lack of cohesion around a certain candidate. So I’m hopeful that still as the field narrows that I could get into a debate, and then everything would change.”
Karger has filed complaints against Fox News for shutting him out of an early debate in Iowa and against the American Conservative Union for refusing him a spot at its annual convention.
As a pro-choice, openly gay Republican, Karger acknowledges he’s not in the GOP mainstream these days. And he’s not really appealing to Republicans to vote in the Republican primary. Any registered voter can cast a ballot in Michigan’s GOP contest.
“I am appealing, No. 1, to Obama supporters,” Karger says. “A little unethical, a little unprecedented strategy for a Republican. But, as a moderate centrist who actually is to the left of Obama on certain social issues — like full equality, gay marriage, things like that — I am appealing to them. And my message is: Obama is unopposed, literally unopposed — vote for Fred Karger, grab a Republican ballot, make some history.”