By Lucas Grindley
Originally published on Advocate.com August 05 2011 2:30 PM ET
The first gay Republican candidate for president claims he has qualified for a Fox News debate later this month, which could dramatically alter the mix on the stage.
Fox News has not confirmed that it will allow Fred Karger to participate. But with a new poll from Harris Interactive being distributed by Karger, the former Republican political consultant says he now meets the network's requirement that candidates average 1% in five national polls before being admitted into the debate on August 11.
Karger sent a letter to the network listing the polls he's using for the math:
- Karger says he scored 2% in the new Harris poll Thursday, tying former governors Tim Pawlenty and Jon Huntsman.
- He hit 1% in two Zogby polls, July 25 and May 23, even tying former House speaker Newt Gingrich in the latest.
- Karger dipped to less than 1% in a McClatchy-Marist poll June 29, but the new Harris findings have canceled it out.
- And in the first poll to include his name among potential candidates, Karger claimed 1% in an April poll by Fox News.
In the Harris poll, Karger scored higher than Rick Santorum, who got 1% of the vote. If Karger is indeed allowed to debate in Ames, Iowa, he has promised in the past to challenge other Republican candidates on gay rights issues.
Karger has worked hard to gain entry, creating a string of Let Fred In websites demanding access. And he filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission alleging that he was excluded from a another debate in Iowa March 7 based on his sexual orientation.