With social conservatives Rick Perry and Michele Bachmann grabbing headlines in the Republican presidential primary field, one name doesn't come up very often in the discussion: Fred Karger.
Karger, 61, a California businessman and Republican consultant with catalog-model good looks, isn't your typical candidate, GOP or otherwise. He's the first openly gay candidate for president in any party.
He's also been largely ignored by the conservatives who dominate the presidential primary process. And though he's polling even in some surveys with bigger names, Fox News still won't let him participate in a Thursday debate in Ames, Iowa.
The website LetFredIn.com says Karger has 2 percent support in a recent Harris Poll. While it isn't as much as Romney or Bachmann, or even Herman Cain, it puts him on the same level as Jon Huntsman and Tim Pawlenty, and ahead of Rick Santorum. (Here's Santorum's latest theory about about gays.)
Karger and his attorneys plan to file a complaint with the Federal Election Commission that says Fox is violating rules governing presidential debates by excluding him.
Karger has plenty of Republican credentials: He worked on Ronald Reagan's 1980 and 1984 presidential campaigns, and George H.W. Bush's. More recently, he worked to defeat California's Proposition 8 (an anti-gay marriage ballot measure voters approved in 2008) and helped draw attention to the Mormon Church's financial support of it.
Karger would like Romney and Huntsman, both Mormons, to persuade the church to stop its efforts against gay marriage.
He might have more luck getting elected president.