Outrage after Republican candidate tells voters ‘don’t be weak and gay’

Outrage after Republican candidate tells voters ‘don’t be weak and gay’

Valentina Gomez: Republican Candidate for Missouri Secretary of State

Valentina Gomez: Republican Candidate for Missouri Secretary of State

Valentina Gomez, a Republican candidate for Missouri secretary of state, sparked controversy with a video in which she ran down a street wearing a protective vest and made offensive remarks.

Jason Kander, a former Democratic Missouri secretary of state, criticized Gomez's video, calling attention to what he perceived as her attempt to mimic military service and substituting bigotry for strength.

Observers noted that Gomez's video was filmed in the Soulard District of St Louis, a historically LGBTQ+ neighborhood.

Gomez's tweet included the handles for Andrew Tate, a British influencer, and his brother Tristan Tate, a kickboxer, who deny charges of human trafficking, rape, and forming a criminal gang to sexually exploit women.

Gomez claimed her video featured music by "the great Lupe Fiasco", prompting users to point out the rapper's stance against homophobia.

Gomez, 25, from St Louis, describes herself as "a real estate investor, financier, strategist, former NCAA Division I swimmer, relentless achiever, and a fierce advocate for the principles values we hold dear as Americans battling for a better future".

Like many other short videos Gomez has made, the ad featuring her running included an image of her holding a large gun. Others show her firing guns, including at an inflatable Star Wars stormtrooper.

In February, Gomez posted a video in which she used a flamethrower to burn books with LGBTQ+ themes, stating her intention to do the same when she becomes secretary of state.

Gomez's campaign director told NBC News: "You want to be gay? Fine be gay. Just don’t do it around children." The statement also included familiar far-right complaints about drag shows, pronouns, and transgender rights.

Whoever succeeds the current Missouri secretary of state, Jay Ashcroft, will control elections in the state. Gomez supports Donald Trump’s lies about electoral fraud.

The independent non-profit Ballotpedia places Gomez among the frontrunners in an eight-strong Republican field, alongside members of the state house and senate.

Gomez is "a real estate investor who has received national attention for her social media presence", the site says.

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