Karger's campaign announcement ad (warning: steel yourself, includes obligatory Reagan ring-kiss. Barf!).

The first candidate to throw his hat in the ring for the GOP Presidential nomination, Fred Karger, has taken another first. He's come in first the St. Anselm College straw poll, beating Huckabee, Romney and others. From the campaign:

 There has been a tremendous amount of coverage of our upset win over former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney in the St. Anselm College Republican Straw Poll last Thursday night.  Prospective candidates Santorum, Pawlenty and Cain had representatives and tables set up, and they and others showed videos.  But after a week of campaigning at St. Anselm's by the Karger campaign, we prevailed and beat Mitt Romney 25% to 23%.  Donald Trump had a mere 8% of the votes cast.

Final Results:
 
Fred Karger, 25%
Mitt Romney, 23% 
Donald Trump, 8%
Tim Pawlenty, 7%
Ron Paul, 7%
Rudy Giuliani, 7%
Rick Santorum, 6%
Sarah Palin, 3% 

Oh, and he's openly gay. 

If you're thinking a gay republican Presidential candidate, WTF?

Well, Karger insists he's mounting a serious campaign, but some have said he's got an ulterior motives. It's certainly possible his eye is not so much on the Oval Office as on the debate podium.

Congratulations, Mr. Karger. This will be a nice recommend to secure a spot on Manchester, NH's WMUR Presidential debate stage. A closer examination of the straw poll by WMUR is here, they say “In the end, this was a big win for Karger.” And 322 ballots were cast in total, and that is actually kind of impressive.

It would indeed be interesting to see if in the end an openly gay, strong advocate for LGBT rights will be sharing a stage with Mike “Children are not puppies” Huckabee and Tim “Let's bring back Don't Ask, Don't Tell” Pawlenty. It's likely Karger would be anxious to draw a sharp distinction in contrast. Probably that's why the GOP is trying to keep him out of the debates in Iowa.

Let's hope the GOP doesn't “censor his right to free speech.” I'll make the popcorn.

If you're skeptical any Republican, even a gay one, can be a good advocate for LGBT rights, watch Fred defend NH marriage equality in an ad his group, Rights Equal Rights (formerly Californians Against Hate) has produced and financed. It's a pretty slick and withering take-down of National Organization for Marriage. The initial ad buy was for six weeks on cable channels in New Hamphshire.