A Valentine’s Day message to supporters sparked tidal waves of attacks and encouragement for 28-year-old Philadelphia Congressional hopeful Alexandra Hunt.
In the campaign email, she proudly speaks about her status as a single career woman, resulting in outrage from a barrage of conservative commentators. Hunt, a Democrat, says she was shocked by the reaction.
What followed was an unflattering story in the right-leaning New York Post on Saturday — the article focused on Hunt’s past as a stripper (she “left behind her platform shoes for a political platform,” the writer says) and her merchandise.
Hunt has leaned into her former job, which she did in college, releasing T-shirts and other swag with the slogans “Elect Hoes” and “I may have danced for money but I’m no corporate whore.”
On Twitter, she thanked the Post for the “free campaign ad,” and Hunt, of Roxborough, told Metro on Sunday that she sold $20,000 worth of merchandise over the weekend.
“We’ve had an outpouring of support,” she said. “Yes, there has been an influx of misogynistic comments coming in from a lot of different mediums, but the support has also been very overwhelming.”
Hunt said conservatives are trying to shame her out of the race for sharing her life experience, which, aside from working at a strip club, includes getting an abortion at age 18 and surviving sexual assault.
“I wanted to be open about it so that people understand that they can relate to my experiences of trying to survive in the United States,” she added. “I think that shame is used to oppress people and to divide people.”
She faces the difficult task in the Democratic primary of attempting to unseat U.S. Rep. Dwight Evans, who took office in 2016, replacing Chaka Fattah after he was sent to federal prison on corruption charges.
Prior to his time in Congress, Evans, of West Oak Lane, spent 36 years as a state representative in Harrisburg. He ended 2021 with about $334,000 in his campaign account, compared to Hunt’s $51,000, according to federal election records.
Hunt did raise nearly $210,000 last year, and she has made her mark on social media, particularly on TikTok, where she has around 59,000 followers.
An op-ed that she recently wrote for the liberal Daily Kos was pulled and will soon be featured on the Huffington Post, she told Metro.
In the piece, Hunt writes about how she lost her role as a coach in a suburban Philadelphia soccer league after she began publicizing her experience as a stripper —another example, Hunt thinks, of unfair stigma against sex workers.
Hunt recently left her job as a public health researcher to concentrate on her campaign full-time. She grew up in the Rochester, New York, area and moved to Philadelphia to study for her master’s degree.
She decided to run for Congress after being disappointed in the government’s response to the coronavirus pandemic and wanted to challenge Evans because she does not believe he has been progressive enough.
Among her priorities are reforming the criminal justice system, strengthening labor unions, supporting a Medicare For All program, and abolishing Immigrations and Customs Enforcement and the Border Patrol.