LGBTQ GA House Candidate Rashaun Kemp Victim of Smear Campaign

GA House Candidate Rashaun Kemp Hit with Fake Texts, Victory Fund Calls for Opponent to Condemn Dog Whistle Attack
Robotexts show Kemp with his husband on their wedding day

The LGBTQ Victory Fund, the only national organization dedicated to electing LGBTQ leaders to public office, called on Georgia state Rep. Roger Bruce to condemn robotexts emphasizing the sexual orientation of his out LGBTQ opponent Rashaun Kemp. The robotexts were falsely made to look as if they were sent by Kemp’s campaign. Kemp, who is endorsed by Victory Fund, is in a June 21 primary runoff against Rep. Bruce for the Georgia state House seat.

Thousands of voters in his district were sent the text messages yesterday with a picture of Kemp and his husband on their wedding day, saying: “It’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer (LGBTQ) Pride Month and we are winning thanks to voters like you! I will make it my business to push the movement forward. I need you to advance the PRIDE agenda! RaShaun Kemp for Georgia! #pride”.

The source of the text message campaign is not yet known, but immediately raised concerns about future robotexts made to falsely appear as they were from the Kemp campaign. The texts were also a clear attempt to sensationalize Kemp’s sexual orientation and to emphasize his support for LGBTQ issues. The tactic, often used against LGBTQ candidates, aims to make voters falsely believe Kemp will prioritize LGBTQ rights over other important issues facing his district. The text is also clear political speech aimed at influencing an election, yet no disclaimer was provided on the text to identify the source as required by law.

“Rashaun Kemp is a proud gay man who is open with constituents about his personal life and firm in his policy positions,” said Mayor Annise Parker, President & CEO of LGBTQ Victory Fund. “Yet those opposing his election are desperate and are now sending mass texts to voters made to appear as if they are from Rashaun’s campaign. It is no accident the robotexts are emphasizing his sexual orientation. It is a tactic directly from the National Republican Congressional Committee playbook and aims to distract voters from his strong qualifications and district-focused policy agenda.

“These text messages are pathetic dog whistle attacks, and they will backfire. Rep. Bruce must condemn these attacks publicly, reaffirm his commitment to LGBTQ equality and pledge to help lead the fight against the anti-trans bills percolating in the Georgia legislature. We also urge media outlets and Georgia officials to investigate who is responsible for what appears to be illegal campaign activity and that the source is known to voters before the runoff on the 21st.”

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