Nine frontrunners for Oakland’s 2014 Mayor’s race are on Tinder, Oakland Unseen recently discovered through an anonymous source in City Hall. These candidates are using Tinder to connect with Millennial voters in Oakland who will likely decide who will become Oakland’s next mayor in the November 4 election. Tinder is a smartphone-based dating app that’s exploded in popularity because of its ease of use—requiring the user just to swipe left for people they don’t like, and swipe right for people they do.
Since receiving this scoop, Oakland Unseen’s investigative reporting unit has conducted a months-long investigation alongside our nonprofit reporting partners, funded by several public-interest journalism grants.
Jason Overman, Rebecca Kaplan’s spokesman, said of the Tinder revelation, “Tons of people nowadays are using Tinder to hookup with singles in Oakland. Why not use the app to court the young adult vote? We’ve got to stay one foot in front of the competition.”
However, Kaplan could be falling behind. Records obtained from Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests show that soon after Kaplan joined Tinder to ‘connect’ with prospective Oakland voters, several other candidates joined Tinder, including Mayor Jean Quan, Councilmember Libby Schaaf, City Auditor Courtney Ruby, Port Commissioner Bryan Parker, civil-rights attorney Dan Siegel, community activist Jason “Shake” Anderson, neighborhood watch leader Patrick McCullough, and overly optimistic professor Joe Tuman.
An unnamed source at City Hall told Oakland Unseen: “Nowadays, voters are expecting a candidate to go the extra mile. They don’t want just leaflets at their door, but sometimes they want to know their candidate intimately. And how far they will go on the issues that matter most to them,” our source said, removing their glasses and pausing dramatically. “Yes, it’s a viral marketing campaign (hopefully just in one way), but that’s what you have to do nowdays to get elected,” our source said before disappearing behind a curtain.
When Oakland Unseen reached out to Tinder about whether or not this violates Tinder’s user agreement, Tinder’s CMO Justin Mateen replied, “I’m not sure, can I get back to you? I have some other things I need to take care of right now.”
Oakland Unseen has obtained each of the Oakland mayoral candidate’s Tinder profiles, and they’re below.
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Tinder illustrations by Krusty Wheatfield, http://www.krustywheatfield.com.
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