An official from the Republican Party
in Iowa has threatened to “abort” the campaign of Fred Karger,
the openly gay Republican considering a run for the White House.
Steve Scheffler sent Karger an
unsolicited email saying he'll work to end his candidacy in Iowa.
In a response to a statement released
by Karger's office lauding a judge's ruling against the National
Organization for Marriage (NOM), the nation's most vociferous
opponent of gay marriage, Scheffler accused Karger of harassing
opponents of gay marriage.
“You and the radical homosexual
community want to harass supporters of REAL marriage,” Scheffler
wrote. “... I will work overtime to help ensure that your
political aspirations are aborted right here in Iowa.”
Scheffler is the RNC's National
Committeman in Iowa. He is also the head of the Iowa Christian
Alliance, a group opposed to gay rights. Reparative therapy – the
controversial treatment that promises to turn gay people straight and
has been rejected as ineffective and unnecessary by mainstream mental
health groups – is promoted
on the group's website.
In an inquiry by the Des
Moines Register, Scheffler admitted to penning the email,
but refused to back down: “I'm not going to get involved in the
presidential caucuses but I'm going to call a spade a spade. When
you have somebody who is this far out of the mainstream of the
political party I'm just going to tell them what I think.”
Karger placed himself out of that
mainstream when after decades managing the campaigns of Republican
candidates, including six presidential hopefuls, he came out gay and
in support of marriage equality for gay and lesbian couples.
In 2008, Karger founded Californians
Against Hate to mobilize against major donors to California's
anti-gay marriage initiative, Proposition 8. He's also targeted NOM
and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (the Mormons),
filing formal complaints with state election officials in California
and Maine against both groups.
Groups such as Scheffler's are
pressuring Republican lawmakers to roll back last year's state
Supreme Court ruling that legalized gay marriage. All gubernatorial
candidates vying for the Iowa GOP nomination support putting the
issue up for a popular vote.
The Iowa GOP has taken been “taken
over by the Christian coalition,” Karger lamented to On Top
Magazine in an email.
Saying his candidacy will “shake it
up,” Karger added that he's working overtime to “help put a face
on the gay community, help organize the LGBTQ base and friends and
hopefully keep guys like Mr. Scheffler, and the far right candidates
for president, in check a little.”