Fred Karger, a California-based political consultant and activist will become the first Republican presidential candidate to make his campaign official. In a press release Tuesday, Karger announced plans to formally file with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) on Wednesday.
That will make Karger –who has worked with Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, and Gerald Ford – the first 2012 candidate to officially file with the FEC. Other prospective candidates, Tim Pawlenty, Herman Cain and Buddy Roemer have so far just formed exploratory committees.
Karger has publicly expressed his interest in being the first openly gay Republican candidate since the Southern Republican Leadership Conference in April 2010. He has also already run ads in New Hampshire and Iowa.
Karger positions himself as a more moderate Republican candidate, and openly admits he donated money during the 2008 cycle to then-presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and then voted for Ralph Nader in the general election.
“I just thought she [Clinton] would be a good – a good fit. And the Republican Party had just gone so far right that I wasn’t happy with the candidates then,” Karger told The Daily Caller in an interview last fall.
He’s taken up the label “Independent Republican,” and wears it proudly, though sometimes out of necessity as traditional Republican groups have not warmed up to him just yet. Karger could not get a booth at this year’s Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) and was kept out of a recent presidential forum in Iowa.
The FEC has since announced plans to investigate whether Steve Scheffler, president of the Iowa Faith and Freedom Coalition, violated election laws by excluding Karger.