He may not be taken seriously by many voters in 2012, but long-shot GOP presidential hopeful Fred Karger caught the attention of the Republican National Committee’s top brass Tuesday.
The California-based gay-rights activist, a former top political operative for three Republican presidents, visited Washington this week to become the first to file for the GOP presidential nomination. He plans to turn in his paperwork in person to the Federal Election Commission on Wednesday morning.
And although the announcement will be a blip, if anything, on the national political radar, Karger said he received a warm reception during a meeting with RNC Chief of Staff Jeff Larson.
“He welcomed me and said they would provide any of their facilities — obviously they have to be neutral,” Karger said, adding that his Washington-based communications director was invited to attend presidential-related RNC meetings in the future as well.
RNC Chairman Reince Priebus and his vice chairman joined the meeting soon after it began.
“In comes Reince to shake my hand,” Karger said. “We had a great meeting. I gave him one of my T-shirts.
“They rolled out the red carpet,” he continued. “I’ve been getting a lot of resistance from the establishment, particularly in Iowa. ... So to have the chairman, vice chairman and chief of staff welcome me with open arms was very gratifying.”
Karger, 61, who publicly acknowledged being gay just two years ago, served as a senior campaign consultant with Presidents Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush and Gerald Ford.