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Karger forms exploratory committee, uses Scheffler comments to raise cash
Fred Karger, a veteran GOP strategist and a gay-rights activist from California, announced Thursday that he has officially formed a presidential exploratory committee, and he’s pointing to statements condeming his candidacy by an Iowa Republican to help raise money.
Earlier this year, Steve Scheffler, the head of the Iowa Christian Alliance and one of three Iowans on the Republican National Committe, sent an e-mail to Karger telling him he would “work overtime to help ensure that your political aspirations are aborted right here in Iowa.” The reason, Scheffler said, is that Karger is part of the “radical homosexual community.” Karger is openly gay.
The e-mail was in response to Karger’s work with Californians Against Hate, an nonprofit he founded to draw attention to the major donors behind California’s ballot initiative banning same-sex marriage. Karger, a lifelong Republican who worked for both Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush (he helped run the Willie Horton victims campaign to discredit Michael Dukakis in 1988), has made numerous trips to the Hawkeye State, most recently in August to attend the State Fair.
Pointing to the comments, and his recent history of taking on anti-gay organizations like the National Organization for Marriage, Karger is asking for campaign donations.
“We have an aggressive fundraising goal for the fall,” he said in an e-mail to supporters. “We need to raise a minimum of $50,000 to hire staff, do research, print materials and run a 60 second television commercial to determine whether to pursue a campaign to the American voters. With your help today, we can reach that fundraising goal.”
According to The Atlantic, Karger’s goal is to be included in the nationally televised debates put on by local newspapers and TV stations in both Iowa and New Hampshire.