A Democratic congressional candidate running against an incumbent of his own party has thought up the weirdest way to get votes: Catfishing potential supporters through dating apps.
Suraj Patel, a former hotel executive with a knack for fundraising, and his staff use Tinder, Bumble and Grindr, popular dating and hookup apps for mobile phones and tablets, to create fake profiles and attempt to attract people to his campaign, according to The New York Times.
“It’s kinda like catfishing,” Patel said, referring to the practice of falsely representing yourself online to lure a target into a relationship. “But you are telling people who you are.” Patel’s campaign uses a bar as election headquarters, and there, staffers use a bunch of phones to create fake profiles where they can “swipe right” on thousands of would-be dates.
Patel said he uses a picture of his brother on the profiles he creates to pick up votes. “Hi Sarah. Are you into civic engagement?” is a typical opening line once he gets a match. (RELATED: Old Facebook Post Shows Dem Candidate Made ‘Creepy’ Comments About Olympic Teen Gymnast)
Patel calls the method Tinder banking. In his race against incumbent Democratic Rep. Carolyn Maloney in the Democratic primary June 26, he says it might make a difference and even inspire the party do try new things.
“What if Tinder banking works so well that we get 1,000 extra votes? Shouldn’t the party be like: ‘Cool, let’s start doing this,'” Patel, said. “The primary is a phenomenal opportunity for us to test new ideas, new energy. I find the lack of creativity in politics appalling.”
Patel was in the news in March for an old Facebook photo of himself with U.S. Olympic gymnast McKayla Maroney upon which he made a suggestive comment.
“I told her she should come to New York because we have a top shop there on Broadway, haha, that may have crossed the creepy line by a little,” Patel said in the comments to a friend in August of 2012, the New York Post reports. “We went to Top Shop. I bought a promise ring. Then they tried to arrest me,” the caption of the photo said.
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