Gay Republican presidential candidate Fred Karger has ended his campaign.

The politician, who said previously he never expected to win, announced on his website last Thursday that his bid for the presidency was over.

Under a picture of a fat lady singing, he wrote: “After 2 ½ years of campaigning as a candidate for President of the United States I am officially ending my historic campaign today June 29, 2012. It’s been one hell of a ride, and I want to thank the thousands of people across this country who volunteered, contributed, opened their homes, came to our events and cheered me on.”

He added: “I plan to rest up for awhile and then I will be back at it to help in the fight for LGBT equality.”

Karger told The Advocate that he has no intention to back Republican front-runner Mitt Romney, saying: “It is hard to endorse a candidate for president who signed the hateful ‘Marriage Pledge’ sponsored by known hate group the National Organization for Marriage.”

A former political strategist for Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush, Karger worked in politics for more than 30 years before launching a presidential bid. He came out in 2006, shortly after his parents died.

While his statements on gay rights made headlines, Karger was unable to secure places in Republican debates.

In 2011, he told the LA Times that he entered the race to encourage young LGBT people.

He said: “I want to send the message to gay younger people and older people and everyone in between that you can do anything you want in life, and don’t feel bad about yourself and don’t feel you have to live your life the way I did.”