A gay California lawmaker has joined Grindr to encourage users to vote against recalling Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) in the upcoming Sept. 14 election.
Last Tuesday, State Assemblymember Evan Low (D-Campbell) said he joined the popular gay dating app in an effort to urge Grindr users not to recall Newsom, a longtime LGBTQ ally.
Newsom has faced criticism from conservatives for his management of the state, particularly his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic — including shutdowns, mask mandates, and other restrictions intended to curb the spread of the virus and its variants.
“Hello beautiful!” Low’s profile, using the handle “VoteNoOnRecall,” reads. “I’m on here to urge you to VOTE NO on the Republican Recall! Governor Gavin Newsom has consistently stood for equality and our LGBTQ community. Now let us all be there for him.”
I’ve joined @Grindr ! Let’s chat about Voting “NO” on the Republican Recall!
— Evan Low (@Evan_Low) September 2, 2021
Low, a liberal who represents a district that includes Silicon Valley, and serves as the chair of the California Legislative LGBTQ Caucus, has received criticism for attempting to use his Grindr profile as an electioneering tool, with some questioning whether his profile violates the app’s terms and services prohibiting solicitation.
One user, fromthebridge tweeted: “@Grindr, isn’t this a violation of your terms and services? This is solicitation and an abuse of your platform in an attempt to interfere in an election.”
Some LGBTQ Twitters users criticized Low, arguing that the app should be used to arrange dates, not to promote a political agenda. Others claimed that Low’s desperation would encourage Californians to vote for the recall, allowing Elder to become governor.
“Oh yeah I do not wish to chat on grindr (sic),” wrote one user.
“This tweet is the reason why Larry Elder will become Governor,” tweeted another.
“This made me vote yes and I was undecided,” tweeted a third.
Casey Flores, head of the Richmond, Virginia chapter of the LGBTQ political organization Log Cabin Republicans, tweeted: “You were definitely on Grindr before this. And this is probably the saddest Twitter post I’ve ever seen.”
You were def on Grindr before this.
And this is probably the saddest Twitter post I’ve ever seen.
— Casey Flores (@caseyjflores) September 2, 2021
Another user simply responded with a GIF from the popular show Schitt’s Creek, in which one character tells another, “You’re clearly very desperate.”
A spokesperson for Grindr did not respond to an inquiry from Metro Weekly asking whether Low’s use of his dating profile violates the app’s terms and services, or what moderators consider the line between solicitation and free speech to be.
A recall election is a common political occurrence in California, which has seen attempts to recall each and every sitting governor since 1960, although some of those attempts failed to qualify for the ballot, according to records from the California Secretary of State’s website.
A recall election against sitting Gov. Gray Davis (D) over the state’s energy crisis in 2003 resulted in actor and former bodybuilder Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) becoming the state’s governor.
On Sept. 14, voters will be faced with two questions, the first asking if the governor should be recalled, and the second asking, if so, which of more than 40 candidates of various political affiliations, mostly Republicans, should replace him.
Currently the frontrunner — who simply needs to get the most votes in the crowded field and does not have to gain a majority of the vote — is conservative talk-show host, attorney, and author Larry Elder, a Los Angeles native.
Other notable recall candidates include Kevin Faulconer, the former mayor of San Diego; John Cox, a businessman and the official Republican candidate in the 2018 gubernatorial election; and Caitlyn Jenner, a transgender reality star and former Olympic athlete.
According to the most recent poll of the recall election, by the Trafalgar Group, if the election were held today, 53% of likely California voters would choose to keep Newsom in office, compared with 43% who would vote to remove him. But other polls in the past month have shown much narrower margins for Newsom, with the governor hovering at or below the 50% threshold.
According to another poll from the Public Policy Institute of California, if Newsom were to lose the recall election, Elder would become governor with 26% of the vote.
In the meantime, Low has continued to use the app — as well as other social media platforms — to take shots at Elder. In a since-deleted tweet, he even claimed to be sending a picture of Elder to Grindr users who ask him for explicit photos.
“Since joining Grindr to talk with people about the Republican recall, some have asked me for a d*ck pic,” Low tweeted. “Here is what I send back…”
Since joining Grindr to talk with people about the Republican recall, some have asked me for a d*ck pic.
— Evan Low (@Evan_Low) September 4, 2021
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