JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A Jacksonville woman running for Congress received an unwelcome surprise last week when someone vandalized her campaign sign by painting her face white.
Glo Smith, who is African-American, is running in the Republican primary for Florida's 5th Congressional District. The seat is currently held by Democrat Corrine Brown.
Smith said her husband noticed last Tuesday that one of her large campaign signs off Interstate 10 in the Marietta area was missing. When he went to check on the sign, he discovered it lying on the ground and realized Smith's face had been painted white (pictured). Several smaller signs had been taken, as well.
"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 posted a photo of the defaced sign on her "Glo Smith for U.S. Congress" Facebook page on Sunday, saying "This is not nice, but I'm all for diversity."
She said she wanted her constituents to be aware so they could help keep an eye on the signs, and she received an outpouring of concern. But she's ready to move on with her campaign and said the incident has encouraged her to work even harder.
"It motivates me," she 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."
Smith said she's trying to find humor in the incident, and she's forgiven whoever vandalized the sign.
"I think we just move forward and hopefully they won't do it again," she said. "If they do, it's OK, we're staying focused."
Smith is running against Thuy Lowe in the primary, which is Aug. 26. The winner of the Republican primary will face Brown, a well-known African-American congresswoman who has held the seat since 1992, in the general election on Nov. 4.