U.S. Presidential candidate Fred Karger denied place at Fox News debate

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Fred Karger in 2010.
Image: IowaPolitics.com.

Fred Karger, the first openly gay person to seek the presidential nomination of a major U.S. political party, was denied a place at Thursday's Fox News-sponsored Republican Party debate in Iowa. Karger insists that he meets the requirement of polling an average of one percent in at least five recent national polls, but Fox News refutes his claim.

Karger, who previously served as an adviser to Presidents Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush, announced his candidacy earlier this year. He brands himself as "a different kind of Republican" that wants to open the party to outsiders like himself. However, his polling numbers have remained low.

For inclusion in the debate, Karger cites an August 4 Harris poll that shows him with two percent support, an April 28 Fox News poll and Zogby polls from May 23 and July 25 that show one percent support, combined with a June 29 McClathy-Marist poll that includes Karger with less than one percent support for an overall average of one percent in five polls. Fox News' vice president of news Michael Clemente disputes this finding and remarked to the Des Moines Register that the April 28 poll cited was no longer considered recent and that the polls used were not sufficient to fulfill the requirements.

In response, Karger tweeted "I am mad as hell and I am not going to take it any more...We will not be treated differently any more." He claims that Fox News did not specify which polls could not be included in the criteria. He opened a website titled "Let Fred In!" and supporters have started a petition to Fox News. The filing deadline for the debate is scheduled to end today at 4 p.m. CDT. If Karger is not included, he plans to file a complaint with the Federal Election Commission.

The debate, which will be held two days before the nonbinding Ames Straw Poll, is expected to include Mitt Romney, Michele Bachmann, Tim Pawlenty, Jon Huntsman, Jr., Herman Cain, Ron Paul, and Newt Gingrich. Like Karger, Congressman Thaddeus McCotter was not invited to the debate, despite securing a spot on the straw poll ballot.