US election candidate campaigns for votes in Decentraland
POLITICAL campaigns in the metaverse look set to stay – with a trend that first started last summer continuing in 2022.
New York City mayoral hopeful Andrew Yang made history when he canvassed support for his campaign last year as an avatar in the virtual world ZEPETO.
The Democrat engaged with voters and even held a metaverse press conference.
He described himself as “a big fan of virtual economies” and said he believed the metaverse “can be a path forward for a lot of New Yorkers and young people”.
Though unsuccessful in his bid to become mayor, his tactics are now being replicated by another member of his party seeking election this year.
Thearse McCalmon is seeking to become the Democratic nominee for the 46th district state Senate seat in New York.
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Ahead of the party’s primary election to determine which candidate to put up against rival parties in a vote for the seat, McCalmon is using virtual worlds to try and build support.
She’s campaigning in both Decentraland and the Sandbox, two of the current most popular metaverse platforms.
“Right now, it’s a new world to walk in, you know, I can advertise my campaign,” McCalmon said.
“Hopefully, I’ll be able to meet and recruit volunteers, have some meet and greets, hear ideas first hand from folks exploring this new world and how they feel it’s changing their views on the future or currently changing their world.”
She said that she believed her forward thinking approach to the metaverse would help her “really reach people that we wouldn’t probably be able to reach.”
The candidate gave permission to her press secretary Paul Paterakis to create an avatar to interact with voters virtually after he came to her with the idea of running simultaneous virtual and physical campaigns.
“Thearse is open minded about the technology,” Paterakis said.
“She allows me to explore outside the box ideas with the campaign.
“This gives me a chance to create a digital Thearse McCalmon to roam around the metaverse listen to ideas and promote her candidacy for New York State Senate.”
McCalmon admitted she was “still studying” about Web 3.0 but she was intrigued by the metaverse “and what other opportunities that could bring us in the future”.
The Democratic primary vote for the 46th district state Senate seat will be held on June 28.
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