Gay Council Candidate Wins Despite Hateful Messages

Jesse Walters is the fourth openly gay elected official in Miami-Dade

The gay Miami Shores council candidate who, just days before the election, discovered his campaign signs were defaced with hateful messages has won a seat.

Jesse Walters filed a police report Sunday after yard campaign signs for the Miami Shores council candidate were defaced with derogatory statements about his sexual orientation.

Walters, who's openly gay, says campaign mail was distributed to peoples' homes Saturday with a picture of his partner of 23 years and their 15-month-old daughter. He believes the picture set someone off.

One of Walters' opponents brought it to his attention Sunday after hearing one was posted at a family member's home. More defaced signs were found throughout the area.

"Initially it was very unsettling, you know it was kinda like if you've ever had your house broken into, you feel violated and you feel threatened, but the outpouring today has just been so wonderful," Walters said Sunday. "I've had phone calls, e-mails, even the other candidates made a point of either finding me today or calling me, which was really heartwarming."

Police have confiscated the signs and plan to dust them for prints.

Walters is the fourth openly gay elected official in Miami-Dade.

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