Gay Democratic candidate targeted with anti-LGBT robocall smear campaign

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A gay Democratic candidate is being targeted with anti-LGBT smears in a bid to derail his election campaign.

West Virginia state Senate candidate Stephen Skinner, who is openly gay, is facing a close battle with Republican Patricia Rucker.

Ahead of tomorrow’s election, Towleroad reports that voters in the state have been barraged with automated robocalls targeting Skinner’s sexuality, claiming that the candidate “only cares about gay activism” while repeating anti-transgender smears.

The ad is voiced by an actress pretending to be a concerned 12-year-old girl.

The girl claims: “My name’s Courtney and a man came into our changing room last night while I was getting dressed after swim practice, so the Family Policy Council of West Virginia paid so I could tell you why that scared me.

“I’m only 12… I’m not old enough to see a naked man. I know what a girl is, and it’s not that. My coach said Stephen Skinner pushed the city councils to let men into our showers. She says it’s because Mr. Skinner only cares about gay activism, and not common-sense safety for girls.

“I’m not old enough to vote yet and no candidate or any candidate’s committee authorised me to call but please vote against Stephen Skinner. I want to feel safe.

“Patricia Rucker has a daughter. She understands. Please vote for her.”

There is no evidence that any such incident actually took place.

The robocall was masterminded by the Family Policy Council of West Virginia – but Skinner’s campaign questioned Rucker’s close ties to FRC.

Mr Skinner, who is currently a Democratic member of the West Virginia House of Delegates, said: “It was bound to happen. They went low.

“My opponent’s friends have begun their gutter attacks. These attacks are the worst kind of politics, and I know more are coming. We have just days until the election and the mud slinging has begun.

“But we will go high. Instead of letting these attacks break our spirit, we are rallying for one of the biggest fights of our life. I hope you will join us.

“Thank you for supporting me in this race and helping me stand up to this hate.”

A Democratic spokesperson told HuffPo: “Just when you think they can’t get any lower, they do. It’s sickening and saddening that the Republican Party in West Virginia and their outside special interests are using hate tactics and fearful rhetoric to manipulate and confuse the people of West Virginia.

“They have stooped so low as to now exploit children to do their dirty work. These actions do not represent West Virginia values and it’s absolutely disgusting.”

It is not the first time homophobic robocalls in support of Republican candidates have factored into the election.

They were also deployed by a white nationalist super PAC in the heavily-Mormon state of Utah, where Independent candidate Evan McMullin has been making strong gains against Donald Trump.

Ahead of the election, the pro-Trump group barraged voters with robocalls, attempting to dissuade Mormons from voting for McMullin by branding him a “closet homosexual”.