The Man Behind The Political ‘Glittering’ Of Candidates

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — One issue the candidates will likely address during the upcoming presidential campaign season is gay marriage.

Here in Minnesota, voters will weigh in on an amendment that defines marriage as only between a man and a woman. It’s a controversial issue that’s getting a lot of attention from both sides.

When Newt Gingrich visited Minneapolis in May, his trip made news around the world because his book signing was interrupted with glitter.

Minneapolis native Nick Espinosa was the man responsible.

The 25-year-old activist was upset to see state lawmakers approve a step towards banning gay couples from marrying in Minnesota.

“I wanted to do something that would draw attention to the issue. Something that would be a bit dramatic, but that wouldn’t hurt anyone,” said Espinosa, an activist from Minneapolis.

Since May, Congressman Erik Paulsen, Karl Rove, Congresswoman Michele Bachmann and even the Minnesota State Fair have all been glitter targets. 

With clips posted to the internet, they’ve been viewed hundreds of thousands of times all around the world.

“So, it’s exciting for me to see it spreading,” said Espinosa.

Political expert David Schultz sees it as a prime example of the new frontier in campaigns. While candidates use social media to reach potential voters, their opponents use it to highlight controversial policies.

“Clearly these are things that become part of our political culture,” said Schultz, a professor at Hamline University.

But Schultz warned dramatic acts like glittering sometimes have an unintended effect.

“In general, for candidates not getting media attention, any attention is better than none,” said Schultz.

In recent weeks, Espinosa has turned his attention to the foreclosure crisis. But with the 2012 election less than a year away, he said there may be more glitter in the coming months.

“It seems others are picking up on the tactics,” said Espinosa.

Espinosa said he’s never been arrested for the glittering.

In October, Paulsen said the glitter shows there are some silly people out there and his focus is on jobs and the economy.

We also reached out to groups who support the marriage amendment for their take on the glittering. They have yet to respond.

More from Rachel Slavik
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  • Claire Hagen

    Minneapolis is lucky to have brave young people like Mr. Espinosa. Erik Paulsen should be ashamed of calling people who stand up for the rights of millions of Americans “siily.” I hope Nick continues his important work as an advocate for all kinds of American families. Bravo!

    • Pat

      Is there a steam leak in here, or is it just me?

    • The irrelevancy of glitter

      Brave young people? Important work? Too funny. You’re right about one thing though: His glitter throwing schtick should not be called silly. The glitter tactic isn’t serious enough to pass for silly. About as relevant as an OWS protester at a free clinic. I do enjoy the antics of these “advocates” though. Even Newt can use a break from the serious business of tackling the problems America faces. Like the Greece/Euro style liberal spending spree and debt exploding insanity the current president is engaged in. With all of that, it’s hard to take some gay guy throwing glitter seriously. May as well have a laugh, then get back to work.

    • Keith Stone

      Seems to me he is more concerned about getting personal attention. Hey Erik, sorry that you hate your parents. This is the exact type of behaviour that makes most MN want to shun weirdos.

  • Ever notice

    The one thing all gays have in common is poor impulse control. Let’s vote for whatever they want!

    • Jebus

      Ever notice how all bigots have one thing in common? The all lack a functioning frontal cortex.

      • Marty

        I agree with Jeb and most are gay or institutionalized.

  • Pat

    Just because two men have sex with each other doesn’t mean they should be entitled to state and federal benefits.

  • Open your eyes

    Mr. Espinosa simply assaults others with his glitter tactic. It shows a lack of respect for others and it causes a safety concern. If he wants to bring attention to an issue, there are better ways to do it without spraying political leadership with a material. There is a potential for this tactic to cause injury to innocent people. Glitter can get into the eyes, or inhaled. Security has no idea if some nut job will sprinkle their glitter and then pull a weapon out of their glitter bag, so security rushes in to remove the glitter person. During that process someone can be injured or while security deals with the glitter person someone else actually poses a security risk but security is now distracted and absent because of this “harmless” glitter person. Wake up people, this behavior is unacceptable and I am amazed this article tries to glorify this guy as some kind of a hero.

    • james2

      Actually the “glitter” is too big to get into the eyes, and does no harm. Given your proposition of doing something else. please tell us what effective tactic you would use. And I mean be creative, not just sit down and shut up. You’re on!

      Remember, you are trying to get the attention of people who don’t care what you have to say, and would rather you just go away even though that’s impossible.

      • Anona

        This is not true. It has harmed people’s eyes before.

      • @James

        Yep he’s getting my attention, further pushing me towards voting for the gay marriage ban, and you’re right we don’t care what he has to say, hopefullt he enjoys his 15 minutes of fame because he still isn’t marrying his life partner.

  • fkafka

    After 2012, the baby is going to need truckloads of glitter.

  • OldDirtyHippie

    Mr. Espinosa is Awesome!!
    For those calling it assault? Grow up!!! It’s not a glitter bat/glitter gun/ glitter fist!!!!

    Free Assange!!
    Free Manning!!

  • Classmate

    I went to grade school with Espinosa. When he didn’t get his way NIck would get up on his desk and have a tantrum or run down the halls screaming. He was finally expelled. We weren’t sure where he went but all guessed a mental institution. This is very irresponsible reporting to glorify a disrespectful and self indulging trouble maker like Nick Espinosa.

  • mel

    Sounds like a hate crime to me; but it can’t be a hate crime if it is directed toward conservatives, right? If it were a conservative doing this, they would have been arrested.


    Just wait until someones security team shoots this moron. How harmless will glitter be then? If you want to be gay, go for it, I don’t care. But this tactic seems more like something a bully would do, trying to intimidate anyone who speaks out. in this case against gay marriage. Which again, I am not against. Really all this guy has accomplished is more attention for the cantidate.

    • Foolsgold

      To quote the guy calling us stupid, “your” all stupid, you embarass rednecks.

    • Amber

      It’s glitter. Really it’s just glitter. Calm down.

  • Remember the Pennies?

    It’s strange how this story neglects the fact that Nick Espinoza dumped a bag of pennies on candidate Tom Emmer at a town hall meeting. Don’t you think that throwing small metal objects are more dangerous than bits of plastic? What’s next? Quarters, nails, urine, feces?

    Nick Espinoza or whatever his name is (because he has used aliases in the past) has started and continues a dangerous, trendy stunt. And it is HORRIBLE that WCCO is encouraging this by doing a “light-hearted” news story about it.

    PLEASE, the next time Nick or his friends throw or dump anything on another person – have them arrested. Littering, disorderly conduct, assault – any of those reasons would fit the crime.

    • Amber

      Dumped not thrown.

  • Jake

    Not to mention that his ol’ man is/was an illegal alien. This guy thinks he’s funny, thinks he’s smart, thinks he’s important, he is NONE of THOSE. I’m disgusted that ‘cco would give him ANY airtime. He’s a punk, daring decent, hard-working people to slap the taste out of his mouth, so he can file some BS lawsuit. He’s not even good enough to shine my shoes, as far as I’m concerned.

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