Chattanooga mayoral candidate Christopher Dahl is apologizing for lewd, sexist and homophobic social media comments.
Dahl, a Libertarian activist running in the 2021 mayoral election, has been called out for comments to a local lesbian during his failed 2017 campaign for county commission.
On a post about Dahl's new mayoral campaign, former Hamilton County Democratic Party Chairwoman Khristy Wilkinson commented, "Remember that time you told my lesbian friend that what she really needed was a good bedding down? Yeah, you're not getting this vote & hopefully my LGBTQIA brothers and sisters take notice."
The exchange sparked dozens of replies among people supporting or criticizing Dahl. Wilkinson's husband Lane posted a cropped screenshot of the comments in question.
Using a vulgar term, Dahl indicated that the woman needed to have sex with a man.
"I believe that's a lot of these female types issues," he wrote.
"And in reality they need to go to a little store on Broad Street," Dahl continued in an apparent reference to an adult store in Chattanooga. "My motto is don't hate, take time to masterbate [sic] ...lol."
In response to the comments resurfacing and the backlash, Dahl, who announced his campaign earlier this month, says he's sorry for what he said and that he has grown from this and other past issues.
"I just wanted to issue an open apology and I want people to know that my main goal is just to fight for equality across the board," Dahl told the Times Free Press. "A lot of people make mistakes in the past... You know, I've been arrested for for driving on suspended license. I've been arrested for simple possessions and things like that, you know, but I've learned from my mistakes."
Dahl said that he was concerned the comments would disenfranchise many of the voters he hopes to represent as mayor and that he hopes they will consider his progress.
"These comments were sexist and whatever but that was my go-to thing to say back then. Just to tell someone I disagreed with to go f—- themselves, but I've grown," the 38-year-old said. "You know I want to use the city's lobbyist to fight some of the things that really matter at the state and make the laws as equal as I can for everyone. And that's what's important, who I am now."
Dahl couldn't remember the context in which he made the remarks, but said that the fact they were resurfacing was just "mudslinging" by Wilkinson, who he considers to be "against" him politically.
"I would never do that kind of dirty politics," he added. "You won't see any mudslinging from me."
Attempts to reach Wilkinson for comment were unsuccessful.
Contact Sarah Grace Taylor at email@example.com or 423-757-6416. Follow her on Twitter @_sarahgtaylor.