Jewish Republican beats Ron Paul in Puerto Rico primary

By Jennifer Lipman, March 20, 2012

Controversial presidential hopeful Ron Paul was beaten in Sunday’s Puerto Rico primary by a little-known gay Jewish Republican contender.

Fred Karger, whose progressive campaign has attracted little media attention in the last few months, won 1.43 per cent of the vote in the US territory, compared with Mr Paul’s 1.22 per cent.

While Mr Karger is not considered to have any real chance of the party’s nomination, the result will provide some comfort to those nervous of Mr Paul’s chances. Mr Paul, who is a staunch critic of Israel, caused a political storm when he shook hands with a member of the extremist anti-Zionist group, Neturei Karta.

Mr Karger, a gay rights activist and political consultant who once worked with President Ronald Reagan, has claimed to be the only Republican candidate offering centrist views.

“Ron Paul has been in all 20 debates, raised $35 million and has 80 per cent name identification, and it looks like we beat him with our message of jobs now, moderation and inclusion,” said Mr Karger.

Mitt Romney actually won the primary, taking home more than 80 per cent of the votes and all of the delegates.

Mr Karger, who as a fringe candidate has been excluded from all but three primary contests so far, will next contest the Maryland primary on April 3. He will also be on the ballot in California and Utah.

Last updated: 2:13pm, March 20 2012