Fred Waldron Phelps, Sr. (born November 13, 1929) is an American pastor heading the Westboro Baptist Church (WBC), an independent Baptist church based in Topeka, Kansas. Phelps is a disbarred lawyer, founder of the Phelps Chartered law firm, and a former civil rights activist. A member of the Democratic Party, he has occasionally run for political office. In the election for United States Senator for Kansas in 1992, he received 49,416 votes (30.8%) in the Democratic primary, coming in second after Gloria O'Dell (who subsequently lost to later presidential candidate Bob Dole).
Phelps has run in various Kansas Democratic Party primaries five times, but has never won. These included races for governor in 1990, 1994, and 1998, receiving about 15 percent of the vote in 1998. In the 1992 Democratic Party primary for U.S. Senate, Phelps received 31 percent of the vote. Phelps ran for mayor of Topeka in 1993 and 1997.
Support for Al Gore
Phelps supported Al Gore in the 1988 Democratic Party presidential primary election.; in his 1984 Senate race, Gore had opposed a "gay bill of rights" and stated that homosexuality was not something that "society should affirm"), a position he had changed by 2000 when he had the support of homosexual advocacy groups for his presidential campaign. Phelps has stated that he supported Gore because of these earlier comments. According to Phelps, members of the Westboro Baptist Church helped run Gore's 1988 campaign in Kansas.