A group employed by two legislative Democrats to gather signatures to get them on the ballot is taking an unusual approach to finding people to collect those signatures - advertising job openings on a gay sex app.
UtahPolicy.com was provided screenshots of the ad from Grindr, a social app for gay and bisexual men, advertising the openings which pay $15-20/hour. The posting makes it clear it's a legit job, and the poster is not paying for sex.
The ad was posted by Ken Pedersen, who tells UtahPolicy.com he was hired to gather signatures for the re-election campaigns of Sen. Gene Davis, D-Salt Lake City, and Rep. Mark Wheatley, D-Murray. He says the demands of getting so many signatures in such a short time requires candidates to try unconventional approaches.
"Democrats are strong allies of the LGBTQ community," says Pedersen. "I know many young kids kicked out of their homes, who've been in bad spots. Since we always look out for that community, it seemed worth a shot."
Davis needs 2,000 signatures to get on the primary ballot, while Wheatley has to have 1,000. However, the signature-gathering effort may not be necessary for either candidate. So far, neither has drawn a Democratic challenger in their districts.
Sen. Davis says he was unaware Pedersen was using the app to reach potential signature gatherers.
"I have no knowledge of that," said Davis. "I don't control what they do. I was part of a group of Democrats who hired him to gather signatures for us."
Pedersen confirms he did not make Davis and Wheatley aware of his plans to use Grindr to find signature gatherers before he made the move.
"I was really testing it to see if it was a natural fit," says Pedersen. "If it offends anyone, I take responsibility. But, as far as I know, it's legal and has nothing to do with sex."