Fred Karger doesn't mind if New Hampshire voters don't know him as well as the seven other Republican Presidential candidates who will participate in Monday's first GOP debate.
He proudly wears a sticker that reads, "Fred Who?" as he finds other ways to make his case to voters here and across the country that he is a viable candidate. But Karger could not hide his disappointment that like former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson, he was not invited to participate in Monday's first GOP debate at St. Anselm College.
On Market Square Day on Saturday, Karger decided to come to Portsmouth before doing a scheduled precinct walk in Manchester later that afternoon. He met with Seacoast area Republican voters like Lynne Castonguay of Durham and Marylin Yorke of Dover at the Portsmouth Republican Committee tent on Congress Street. Neither one of them said they had ever heard of Karger, but were interested in hearing what he had to say.
He plans to do whatever it takes, including a 30-second television and Web commercial that will run before, during and after the debate on Monday, to reach voters.
He finds it ironic that he will not participate in the debate even though he won a straw poll conducted at St. Anselm College in early April.
"I beat Trump, Palin, Romney -- all seven of them," said Karger, who is from California and is the first openly gay candidate to run for President from any party. "I'm hoping that all of this will help me get on that stage."
Karger said his 30-second commercial is titled, "Tyrannosaurus Rex," because it targets Exxon Mobil CEO Rex Tillerson. Karger said he blames greedy corporations like Exxon Mobil for driving up oil prices and wants to make them accountable.
Lee Hunter, a member of Karger's New Hampshire campaign staff, felt it was unjust for CNN to exclude Karger from the debate, which has also happened in Iowa and South Carolina.
"Fred was the first to form a Presidential exploratory committee and the first to declare his candidacy," said Hunter of Karger, who formerly worked for the Reagan administration. Hunter said brief meet and greets like the one Karger did in Portsmouth is one of many ways the candidate hopes to reach voters.