MANCHESTER — Two lesser-known Republican candidates are taking up residence in New Hampshire in the hope that they'll be able to gain some traction in the Granite State.
Both candidates, Fred Karger and Buddy Roemer, are relative moderates in a growing Republican field that has been dominated by Mitt Romney, Michelle Bachmann and prospective candidates Sarah Palin and Texas Gov. Rick Perry.
Karger, who has been described as the only “gay, Jewish Republican” in the race, recently rented a 14-room, white-painted house with a swimming pool near the Derryfield Country Club in the Queen City.
“We're calling it our New Hampshire White House,” Karger told The New Hampshire Union Leader. “We're going to have a lot of events there, barbecues. We might even do some reality-TV-style webisodes.”
Karger is a longtime Republican political operative who worked on Ronald Reagan's presidential campaign. He's also been an outspoken advocate for gay marriage, a stance that has led to his exclusion from the Conservative Political Action Conference and other conservative forums.
Karger said he thinks he'll find a receptive audience in New Hampshire. “I'm an independent Republican,” he said. “I've been very well-received in Manchester. I met with Mayor Gatsas last week and I joined the Chamber. I want to be a good part of the community.”
Karger also apparently intends to stick it out in the race, at least through the new year. He's signed a seven-month lease.
Meanwhile, Buddy Roemer announced last week at a business roundtable meeting in Bedford that he's moving to New Hampshire. He, too, reportedly is setting up fort in Manchester, although he has not released details of the move, and calls and emails to his campaign were not returned.
Roemer is a former Louisiana congressman in the early- to mid-'80s, and was governor of the state from 1988 to 1992. He was a self-described “conservative Democrat” before he switched to the GOP and lost his bid for reelection as governor.
An admitted long-shot presidential candidate, Roemer has made campaign finance reform and unfair foreign trade practices his core issues.