Virginia Del. Glenn R. Davis Jr. announced on Tuesday that he is suing an anonymous texter who called him a “gay Democrat.” The message that was sent to some Republican state delegates also called former delegate Timothy D. Hugo, Davis’ main competitor in the state’s lieutenant governor race, the “only conservative running for Lt. Governor.”
Davis is asking for $450,000 in damages and said in a press statement that the text demonstrates “unethical, illegal, and scandalous tactics” that are detrimental to the Republican Party.
"These unethical, illegal, and scandalous tactics are detrimental to our party, civil discourse, and the efforts underway to win back Virginia…If bad actions are allowed to go without repercussions, we will never see honesty, integrity, & civil discourse return to GOP politics” pic.twitter.com/kCsCEkTBCu
— Delegate Glenn Davis (@DelGlennDavis) May 4, 2021
Just last week, Hugo sent out a mailer showing Davis wearing a rainbow-striped shirt and highlighting his opponent’s support for protecting members of the LGBTQ community. However, he stressed in a tweet that the text was not from his campaign.
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.
— Tim Hugo (@TimHugo) April 28, 2021
But, regardless of the message causing the demise of Davis’ campaign, civil rights lawyer A.J. Dhali of Dhali PLLC says the lawsuit is likely to fail and that public figures rarely win defamation suits. “He needs to show that the statement was made with malice, and that the only reason he lost his election was because of this defamatory tweet,” Dhail added.
The texter could also file an anti-SLAPP motion, or strategic lawsuit against public participation, in which the texter demands Davis to pay their legal fees if the defamation suit were to fail. “At that point, he will have to put up or shut up,” Dhali said.