A star emerged during Thursday night’s Democratic presidential debate, and it wasn’t any of the people onstage.
Amid the back and forth between the potential Democratic nominees and the dizzying moving background behind them, a bearded man seen seated behind moderator Judy Woodruff became the subject of a lot of thirsty tweets.
The man was called out affectionately on Twitter, particularly by men, and was quickly referred to as #DebateDaddy:
The man was discovered to be Luke Collis, a recently retired Arena Football League player whose Twitter bio describes him as a “Political Enthusiast.”
Collis told HuffPost via email that he’s worked on “numerous [California] campaigns, and more recently Stacey Abrams’ campaign for Governor of Georgia last offseason (don’t get me started on voter suppression).” He currently works for a startup in the sports tech field.
This is what he looks like when not on TV:
Collis tweeted Thursday night that he discovered he’d been fawned over by “TV and gay twitter.”
“From the bottom of my heart, thank you gay twitter. Absolutely made my night,” he wrote on his page.
He said he was forced to take the very public seat was because he was “stuck in LA traffic on the way there” with his dad.
“By the time we got in everyone else had already taken their seats. The only seats left were the ones behind the moderators where we couldn’t see a thing,” Collis explained. “We were getting made fun of for how unfortunate our seats were! Jokes on them I guess, because I’ve been feeling all this love from the internet.”
Collis has been a great sport about the whole thing, telling HuffPost that he’s “super grateful for all the positive response.”
“My confidence in my beard has never been higher. There are so many stories about online bullying and the internet being used as a negative space. I just think it’s cool when we can use it to build each other up. Lucky to be on the positive side of things,” he said.
Also a great sport was Collis’ girlfriend, Kasey Meehan, who simply reshared Collis’ post with the caption: “my #DebateDaddy.”
Long live your beard, Luke. May it grace the screens of every debate going forward.