Brianna Wu intends to run against Stephen Lynch in 2018
He might have just been sworn in, but Congressman Stephen Lynch already has a fight on his hands for 2018.
Brianna Wu, the cofounder of a Boston company who has made headlines in recent years for being targeted by the GamerGate movement, is officially announcing her campaign to run for Congress in 2018.
Wu said she will run in Massachusetts’ eighth district — a congressional seat currently occupied by Lynch. The district encompasses a swath of Boston, as well as several South Shore communities, among others.
Wu, who previously told the Globe she intended to run, said she will make a formal announcement on Friday — the same day Donald Trump is sworn in as president.
“To me, Congressman Lynch represents everything I think is wrong with the Democratic Party,” said Wu, 39, adding that she disagreed particularly with Lynch’s stances on women’s issues and healthcare, as well as what she described as flip-flopping.
Lynch’s views on social issues such as gay rights and abortion have indeed shifted dramatically over the years, sparking praise from some who say his worldview has broadened and criticism from others who argue that he puts political expediency ahead of core convictions.
In a statement to the Globe, Lynch — who has been in the US House of Representatives for nearly 15 years — said he intends to run for reelection in 2018, and also touted his support for Hillary Clinton, his work with a leading LGBT group, advocating for Planned Parenthood, and his overall record in Congress.
“My responsibility, my job, is to represent all races, all faiths, all genders, all people in my district without exception,” Lynch said. “I am proud of my record in Congress and believe I have fought for all of the people I represent.”
He was also upfront about his perceived shortcomings.
“I have taken heat for some of my positions, but I have never been silent and do not plan to be while the House, Senate, and executive branch are in Republican control,” Lynch said.
And, though he voted against the Affordable Care Act — known colloquially as Obamacare — Lynch said he has “advocated for fixing it by addressing runaway drug prices and increasing access to quality, affordable healthcare.”
However, Wu also raised criticisms over Lynch’s work for labor unions — an issue on which he has developed his reputation.
“If you look at where unions are today, they have been decimated,” she said. “If you think Lynch is getting the job done, he’s not.”
Wu said that lessons should be taken from big-name labor unions and applied to the tech world, an industry that is growing rapidly in the Boston area.
“As an industry, we have got to stand together with labor and take some of these lessons about group negotiation and improve work conditions,” Wu said. “Right now, it’s an abusive system.”
“I stood up to the alt-right during GamerGate, and I’ll stand up to them in Congress too,” Wu says in the video.
Wu, the lead engineer at video game company Giant Spacekat, gained notoriety after she sent a tweet in 2014 intended as a joke mocking the members of the shadowy GamerGate movement. Afterwards, she received messages threatening death and rape, as well as messages posting personal information like her address. The threats ultimately forced her to flee her Arlington home.
Critics of the movement say GamerGaters are bullies trying to drive women out of a field that men have long dominated, using tactics that include online harassment and “doxxing,” slang for posting personal information, such as a home address, bank information, and Social Security number.
Her personal experience with receiving threats is leading Wu to concentrate part of her campaign platform on privacy rights and Internet harassment.
“My life is not a single issue, but obviously that kind of extreme harassment has changed me as a person and affected what my priorities are,” she said.
And since her decision to put herself back in the spotlight, Wu said the harassment has started up again.
“It’s exhausting. It’s every day. It’s so frustrating,” she said. “I’ll open my e-mail and see them targeting me again in the exact same way.”
However, to Wu, the negative attention is worth it.
“The truth is, I can’t sit out the next four years. I’m really terrified of a Trump presidency, and scared of what it’s going to mean for women,” Wu previously told the Globe.
Michael Levenson of the Globe Staff contributed to this report.