Lieutenant governor candidate Delegate Glenn Davis (R-Virginia Beach) is suing “Jane Doe” over an anonymous text message sent to voters in April. Davis is seeking a subpoena against telecommunications provider Onvoy, LLC to reveal the sender of the text, which the lawsuit argues is defamatory.
“The text message sent out essentially says that if you are gay then you are disqualified from being a Republican candidate. That is not what our party believes. That is not what our party stands for,” Davis told The Virginia Star on Tuesday.
“The text message violated Virginia Election law requirements and crossed the boundaries for a defamation violation,” states a Tuesday press release from Davis’ campaign.
“An anonymous text message was sent to registered voters in the Republican May 8, 2021 Convention to nominate Republican statewide officers which states that Glenn Davis is ‘Gay’ and that because he is ‘Gay,’ he is not a conservative. The text asks voters to help Glenn Davis ‘come out of the closet’ by ‘not ranking him’ in the May 8th convention,” the lawsuit states.
On April 28, Davis tweeted that the text is meant to look like it came from one of Davis’ opponents, former Delegate Tim Hugo, although Davis hinted that he suspected someone else of sending the texts.
“Tim Hugo is the only conservative running for Lt. Gov,” another part of the text said, according to the lawsuit.
The same day, Hugo tweeted, “A recent text sent attacking my opponent Glenn Davis is NOT from our campaign. We condemn the language used in this ridiculous text. The text that went out tonight falsely identifying as us was illegal. We intend to track down those responsible & hold them accountable.”
Hugo’s Campaign Manager Dustin Rhodes said in a statement Tuesday, “We condemned the text when it was sent and we condemn it now. It was wrong. We hope the Davis campaign is able to find out who was behind it.”
Davis’ lawsuit states that the texts were specifically targeted at people registered to be delegates in the upcoming nomination convention, information that only Republican statewide candidates would have access to.
“There’s this thought that you can send out these types of disparaging and illegal text messages without disclaimers, and without fear of retribution because people may not be able to identify who sent them out and it’s time that ability stops, and that’s why we filed the lawsuit,” Davis said.
In addition to subpoena authority to identify the people behind the text message, the lawsuit seeks $450,000 in damages. Virginia Beach lawyer Tim Anderson is representing Davis. Davis expects the case to take several months.
“Anyone that has conservative beliefs that align with the conservative principles of the Republican Party, is welcome, and has always been welcome inside the Republican camp,” Davis said. “This [text] is not representative of our party nor of the 99.99 percent of our members and all of this text was done to disparage our candidacy and me as a candidate.”
He said, “This isn’t the first time this type of illegal action has been taken but it should be the last.”
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