The Bulletin

Why did Del. Lee Carter tell all last month on Twitter? To beat opponents to the punch.

By: - October 19, 2018 5:54 pm

State Del. Lee Carter, D-Manassas. (Ned Oliver/Virginia Mercury)

Del. Lee Carter, D-Manassas, spent a Friday evening in September on his couch, tweeting every campaign manager’s worst nightmare, The Washington Post reports.

“They tried ignoring me, and when that didn’t work they tried redbaiting,” Carter tweeted.

“That didn’t work either, so they’re smearing Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Julia Salazar. Which means they’ll probably try personal smears on my re-election campaign next year. … So here are some of the things you can expect to be used against me.”

Once, Carter was fired from a job. He’s had a car repossessed. He’s on his third divorce. He was once arrested on suspicion of assault. He’s a victim of abuse, including rape, he says. And there are probably compromising photos of him somewhere, but he sent those to past partners consensually, he said in a series of more than a dozen tweets.

Carter, a freshman lawmaker who considers himself a Democratic Socialist, stood out at the General Assembly for that label. Fellow Democrat, Del. Mark Keam of Fairfax, displayed a hammer-and-sickle behind Carter during a committee meeting last session, and House Republicans have launched a social media campaign accusing Carter of turning away jobs because of his criticism of a major economic development project.

“A lot of problems we have are the result of people trying to hide who they are so they can get reelected,” Carter told The Post.

“If you have real people — normal people, working class people — you’re going to have to get past that fear that you can’t perfectly manicure your image. Just be a normal person. It shouldn’t be a big deal saying that.”

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Mechelle Hankerson
Mechelle Hankerson

Mechelle, born and raised in Virginia Beach, is a graduate of Virginia Commonwealth University with a degree in mass communications and a concentration in print journalism. She covered the General Assembly for the university’s Capital News Service and was among 12 student journalists in swing states selected by the Washington Post to cover the 2012 presidential election. For the past five years, she has covered local government, crime, housing, infrastructure and other issues at the Raleigh News & Observer and The Virginian-Pilot, where she most recently covered the state’s biggest city, Virginia Beach. Mechelle was with the Virginia Mercury until January 3rd, 2019.