Racist Vandals Whiteface Black Republican's Campaign Poster

By Chris Hoenig

Democrat, Republican or Independent, it doesn’t matter. Any Black man or woman can be the victim of racism anywherebut especially on the campaign trail, as a Florida congressional hopeful found out.

Gloreatha “Glo” Smith, a Black conservative running in the Republican primary for Florida’s 5th congressional district, was surprised when her husband showed her a campaign poster that he found on the ground just outside downtown Jacksonville last week. Smith’s skin had been spray-painted white by racist vandals.

“It was a little hurtful, but honestly I don’t know anyone’s motive or reasoning for doing such a thing,” Smith said. “We’ve not spent a lot of time thinking about the whys and who did it. We want to leave that up to law enforcement to check it out and do their investigation and stay focused on our campaign.”

Smith said the graffiti not only caused pain, but also valuable resources.

“I can’t spend a lot of time trying to figure out why they would do something that is hurtful,” she added.”When someone does something like that, not only is it disrespectful … personally, you have to be affected.”

Smith posted a photo of the sign on Twitter and Facebook.

As reaction poured in, Smith thanked her supporters and asked for them to help raise awareness, with the hope that it would slow or stop the spread of such racist actions.

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"I was shocked by this," primary opponent Thuy Lowe told National Review, suggesting that the vandals may not have been white racists. "There have been some comments out there that this may have been caused by bigotry. This is a message that she is an African-American woman who is a Republican and therefore has a white point of view."

"It motivates me," Smith said. "We've got real issues we've got to be focused on, and that's more important at the end of the day. This election is not about race. It's about the issues. That's what people want to hear. We have enough going on with race relations around the country."

Florida's 5th congressional district has a large Black population. It runs from Jacksonville to Orlando and includes Sanford, where George Zimmerman was acquitted of murder after shooting and killing Trayvon Martin in a case that raised racial tensions and led President Obama to deliver a heartfelt statement on racism in America.

The aftermath of the shooting and acquittal has included everything from offensive Halloween costumes to assaults on Trayvon's supporters.

The primary winner will face Democratic Representative Corrine Brown in November's general election. Brown, a member of the Congressional Black Caucus, has held the seat since 1992.

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