Regulation

Aarika Rhodes, a Democrat running to represent California’s 30th Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives, has begun to accept campaign contributions in Bitcoin using the Lightning Network.

In a Tuesday message to her more than 21,000 Twitter followers, Rhodes said her campaign website had started using Lighting for campaign contributions in addition to the BitPay options for Bitcoin (BTC) and Bitcoin Cash (BCH). According to the congressional candidate, the move was aimed at making her campaign more accessible for voters, who will consider Rhodes in California’s primary election in June 2022 and potentially the general election later that year.

Rhodes is seeking to replace fellow Democrat Brad Sherman, who has represented the district since 2013 and is also looking towards re-election in 2002. During his time in office, Sherman has made several anti-crypto statements, including calling for a ban on digital assets, and referring to supporters of initial coin offerings as “charlatans and scammers.” Rhodes, an elementary school teacher, said she plans to use her time in Congress “fighting to keep Bitcoin innovation” in the United States.

At the local level, many lawmakers coming out in support of pro-crypto legislation and other initiatives in the space have already won elections. Earlier this month, Eric Adams defeated his Republican opponent for the New York City mayoral race in a landslide, later saying he would begin accepting his paychecks in crypto and promoting the launch of the NewYorkCityCoin (NYCCoin). In Florida, Miami Mayor Francis Suarez was vocal about his intentions to make the city have “the most progressive crypto laws” prior to winning re-election on Nov. 2.

Related: Lines in the sand: US Congress is bringing partisan politics to crypto

Though some current members of Congress do accept crypto contributions for their re-election campaigns, publicly announcing and promoting such a move is still a relatively novel concept, given how few federal elections have occurred in the U.S. since the 2017 bull run. Morgan Harper, a candidate interested in Rob Portman’s Senate seat for Ohio, recently said she was “in learning mode” on the crypto space and encouraged public feedback on how lawmakers might “keep bad actors out while encouraging innovation.”

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