PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) — Glenn Davis, a Virginia Beach delegate and Republican candidate for Virginia lieutenant governor, has filed a lawsuit to find out who sent a homophobic text message to delegates for the GOP’s May convention that referred to him as “a gay Democrat.”
The lawsuit filed in Norfolk Circuit Court this week is seeking $100,000 in nominal and compensatory damages and $350,000 in punitive damages against the unknown defendant for defamation.
The text sent out the last week showed Davis attending a PrideFest event in a rainbow-striped shirt, calling him a “gay Democrat,” and saying that his opponent Tim Hugo is “the only conservative running for Lt. Governor.” It also asked delegates to help Davis “come out of the closet” by not ranking him in the convention.
Hugo and his campaign have denied involvement.
Davis is not gay, but emphasized he “unapologetically supports equal treatment for the LGBTQ community.”
However the lawsuit says “his support of the community does not give an anonymous Defendant authority to send text messages to voters labeling him as “GAY.”
While the lawsuit says it’s unclear who exactly sent out the text messages, a mailer that used the same photograph of Davis was authorized by the Hugo campaign.
In an interview with WAVY sister station WRIC, Hugo’s campaign manager, Dustin Rhodes, defended the mailer, and said the image was from Davis’ public Facebook page.
“Accusations that it was anything else are nothing more than an attempt to distract voters from the fact that Glenn supported Obamacare expansion and voted this year to give taxpayer funded tuition to illegal immigrants,” Rhodes said.
Hugo again has condemned the text message that had the homophobic language, calling the messaging “ridiculous and offensive,” and said the message did not come from his campaign or any of his associates.
Davis lambasted Hugo’s campaign for the use of the photo in the mailer and said “coincidence only goes so far.”
“Tim Hugo sent a mailer attacking me for participating in #Pridefest with @RPofVB. I’m sorry for my colleague’s #homophobia, but I don’t believe the government has any place in our bedrooms PERIOD,” Davis wrote on April 27.
He hopes the lawsuit will allow him to subpoena the records of telecommunications company Onvoy, LLC to find out who sent the messages.
Davis has represented the 84th District (Virginia Beach) in the House of Delegates since 2013. He and Hugo are among five Republicans running in the primary for lieutenant governor. The Republican convention is on May 8.
This is article is breaking and will be updated.