SALT LAKE CITY — While kicking off his campaign in Utah, openly-gay Republican presidential candidate Fred Karger was called “pathetic” and an “idiot” by Nanette Billings, wife of Washington County Republican Party Chairman Willie Billings.
Mrs. Billings accused Karger of using his campaign to gain sexual partners. Karger did, however, receive a warm welcome from the chairman himself.
After a meeting with Willie Billings, Karger gave him some campaign swag, including a Frisbee and a t-shirt. However, his wife threw them in the garbage and sent Karger an email calling him a “radical idiot,” and said she was glad he “cant procreate.”
From: nanette Billings (email address removed)
Subject: running for president
Message Body: you are an idiot. You met with my husband Willie Billings today about you being on the Utah ballot. He brought your frisby, and tshirt home and it is now out in the trash. I never want to hear from such a radical idiot again. you think you are conseritave? conseritave means you beleive in the values of founding fathers and God. Do you know you cant procreate right? Well thank goodness for that. Nanette Billings
“My feeling is the only reason he’s running for president is to find more [sexual] partners,” Nanette Billings told Yahoo News.
“All I did was go on his site and say, ‘You’re pathetic… We’re a very conservative state in Utah, very family-oriented. So he’s picked a state just to cause ruckus. He’s not thinking of family, he’s thinking of himself. He’s not running for president to fix something in the country—he’s thinking of his own personal agenda, period. And I was just letting him know that I think he’s an idiot to think of running.”
Billings also told the Los Angeles Times she “would never support him” because Karger cannot procreate, which she claims is “totally wicked.”
Karger called the email mean-spirited.
“It felt like a knife had been twisted in my stomach. Was it real? Was she serious?” Karger said. “We must stop this religion-based bigotry … We all need to work together toward mutual love, respect and equality for everyone in this great nation.”
Karger said that two years ago he was threatened by the head of the Iowa Christian Alliance, but “forged ahead” and hadn’t had a similar attack until this week.
“I am 62 years old and can take the hate better now, but for so many millions of LGBT Americans it takes a far greater toll,” he said.
Karger is one of two actively-campaigning Republicans on the June 26 primary in Utah. He acknowledges that Romney has the nomination clinched, but said he’s staying in the race to raise awareness about issues and he’s visiting Utah to campaign on behalf of his campaign and for queer rights.
“Thirty-six years ago, in 1978, the Mormon Church changed its policies and allowed blacks into the priesthood. I hope to meet with President Monson to discuss a similar change now,” Karger said.
“I hope to find common ground and I know many people have been working very hard in Utah and around the world to affect that change and I would love to be a part of that.”