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Huey Rey Fischer

New frontiers in social media campaigning

From Slate:

Huey Rey Fischer identifies as a queer, vegetarian, Latino “progressive Democrat on a bicycle.” He is 23 years old, and he’s running for state representative in Texas’ District 49, which encompasses the University of Texas at Austin. A longtime incumbent is vacating the seat, and Fischer, who attended UT Austin, believes he can defeat his six competitors by seizing the student vote in the March 1 primary. Fischer is campaigning in all the ways youth-vote-hungry candidates campaign—college canvassing, early voting drives, a focus on student debt—with a twist: He’s reaching out to voters on Grindr and Tinder, popular dating apps famous for facilitating hookups. (Grindr is designed for gay men; Tinder is for everyone.) On Wednesday, I spoke with Fischer about political goals and his unconventional campaign tactics.

[…]

How did you decide to campaign through Grindr and Tinder?

My campaign was brainstorming ideas about how to engage with millennials. With Facebook and Twitter, people have to opt in—but when it comes to Grindr and Tinder, it’s direct engagement, direct conversations. It’s a medium that my opponents would never be able to use, anyway; it probably wouldn’t be appropriate for a 45-year-old to be messaging millennials on dating apps. We figured it’d be a fun way to engage with voters.

Do you message voters from your personal phone?

No. There’s a phone in the office dedicated to Tinder and Grindr outreach. We let volunteers come in and strike up messages with people on the apps, as long as they stay on message. “Hey, how’s it going, are you registered to vote?” “Go vote in the Democratic primary for Huey Rey Fischer!” “Huey Rey Fischer is the progressive choice on the ballot!” And so on.

Do you worry that you might be abusing the medium? People typically use these apps to connect with potential intimate partners, not politicians.

We don’t strike up conversations. We allow other people to strike up the conversation with us. It’s a profile of me, and it says clearly that I’m a candidate for state representatives, seeking votes. When people message us, for the most part, they know I’m a candidate for the state legislature.

Fascinating, and ironic in a way since Fischer is campaigning in HD49, now held by the famously Internet-averse Rep. Eliott Naishtat. That field is full of progressive Democrats, so any way to stand out and gain an edge is vital. It would be truly awesome if someone with real statistical chops compared turnout in the (say) 30-and-under segment from 2012 to 2016, and tried to determine if this made a real difference or not. Whatever happens, I salute Huey Rey Fischer for thinking outside the box.

Rep. Naishtat will not run for re-election

Godspeed.

Rep. Elliott Naishtat

Longtime state Rep. Elliott Naishtat announced Thursday he will not seek re-election to the House seat he first won in 1990, despite saying earlier this week that he would.

Naishtat, 70, said Tuesday he had discovered a renewed desire to run for office. But since then, he has “been very anxious and stressed about the decision,” he said Thursday.

This week, “I was down at the Capitol; I wasn’t able to focus the way I usually do,” Naishtat said. “I thought through the process again and, I know I’m not over the hill, but in light of my age, my time serving … and in light of some long-term health and well-being concerns, I decided this is the time for me to not seek re-election.”

Naishtat suffered serious injuries in a 2014 bicycle accident.

[…]

Four people expressed interest in pursuing Naishtat’s seat if he did not seek re-election, he said, but they all told him they would not enter the race if he ran again. On Thursday, he said he informed them each of his decision not to run.

“There is a next generation that stands enthusiastically ready and prepared to serve, and that has an energy toward and passion for public service that I cannot in good conscience ignore,” Naishtat said in a statement. “Perhaps the best gift I can give to the people I represent is the gift of new leadership, fresh perspectives, and renewed energy.”

Harold Cook posted an image of Naishtat’s announcement on Facebook. This is a deep blue district – President Obama got 70% of the vote in 2012, so the winner will be decided in the Democratic primary. The AusChron lists a few potential contenders, all of whom had considered running earlier when Naishtat was initially thinking about retirement.

[B]efore Naishtat filed, there was a list of names lining up to potentially take his place: Council Member and former state rep Ann Kitchen; AISD Board President Gina Hinojosa; former Congressional staffer Katie Naranjo; and former [Rep. Eddie] Rodriguez staffer Huey Rey Fischer (he resigned this morning).

I’d expect multiple people to run and for the race to be decided in a runoff. I wish Rep. Naishtat all the best in whatever comes next for him, and may whoever succeeds him live up to the standard he set.