HomePoliticsVirginia candidate who livestreams sex videos gets support from women, Democratic leader

Virginia candidate who livestreams sex videos gets support from women, Democratic leader

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — A Democratic Virginia legislative candidate whose race was upended by the revelation that she and her husband livestreamed themselves having sex continued her campaign Tuesday, gaining early support in the race with high stakes.

Susanna Gibson, a nurse with two children, is running against a Republican businessman in one of the few highly competitive races that could determine the balance of power in the General Assembly. The suburban race outside Richmond has generated large amounts of spending and interest in an off-year legislative race.

Gibson has gained support as an abortion rights candidate in a state that is an increasingly rare abortion access point in the South, where many states have passed new restrictions following the 2022 U.S. Supreme Court decision overturning Roe v. Wade.

On Monday, after The Washington Post and The Associated Press reported that Gibson had livestreamed videos on Chaturbate — a legal website where viewers can watch live webcam performances featuring nudity and sexual activity — Gibson was mocked on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter.

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But Senator L. Louise Lucas, a leading Democratic lawmaker in Virginia, quickly jumped to his defense, calling on voters to “make this the biggest fundraising day of (Gibson’s) campaign.” Many female voters retweeted Lucas with a link to donate to Gibson’s campaign.

“Anyone watching this knows it’s a bull’s-eye,” said Amanda Linton, a 45-year-old defense contractor who donated $25 to Gibson’s campaign after reading about the videos. Linton said she plans to donate another $100 to Gibson’s campaign even though she can’t vote for her because she lives outside her district.

“It’s just nobody’s business. She has not broken any laws by doing this. She had sex with her husband. I mean, my God,” Linton said.

Lucas said she believes the videos were leaked by a Republican in an effort to embarrass Gibson and damage her campaign.

“They’re looking for everything they can find on any candidate that they think might sway voters,” Lucas said. “It all has to do with who’s going to get control of the Senate and who’s going to get control of the Senate. House. It’s all about control.’

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Democrats now control the Senate by a four-vote margin, and Republicans control the House of Representatives by the same margin, with four seats vacant. Both parties are waging an intense legislative battle as Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin — a rising star in the Republican Party — seeks to cement his conservative agenda with full control of the state government.

Emily’s List, an advocacy group for Democratic female candidates, also defended Gibson.

“Susanna originally ran for office because of the overturning of Roe and she has been very outspoken about standing up for reproductive rights. People are supporting Susanna because they know Republicans are coming after her because she stood up for them,” said spokesperson Lauren Chou.

Still, some observers of Virginia politics said it seems unlikely that Gibson will completely avoid the backlash.

Stephen Farnsworth, a professor of political science at the University of Mary Washington, said that even in an era of greater openness to personal indiscretions, Gibson is highly unlikely to win.

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“Donald Trump has downwardly defined what is acceptable in public life, but this doesn’t seem like the kind of behavior Democrats can sell in suburban Richmond,” Farnsworth said.

Mark Rozell, dean of George Mason University’s Schar School of Policy and Government, said the sex videos are a huge distraction from Gibson’s campaign.

“Explaining sex tapes instead of talking about policy is a huge missed opportunity,” he said.

But Monica Hutchinson, a legislative coordinator for a juvenile justice organization, said she supported Gibson before the videos surfaced and will continue to support her.

“Honestly, I don’t understand why she can’t survive this. She hasn’t done anything wrong, she hasn’t broken any laws,” Hutchinson said, and Gibson’s “sex life has nothing to do with her policy agenda.”

Gibson has denounced the disclosure and sharing of the videos as a violation of her privacy and “the worst of gutter politics.”


Barakat contributed to this report from Falls Church, Virginia.

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