Tony Bouie signs defaced with vile, racist sticker.

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The racist sticker is in the middle of the "o" in "Tony."

Campaign signs for Tony Bouie, an African-American candidate in the LD6 GOP primary for state House, were hit primary day with a crude, racist sticker showing a nude black man in silhouette with target sights around his body.

The stickers were discovered on Bouie signs posted at the northeast corner of 7th Avenue and Bell Road, and the northeast corner of 7th Avenue and Union Hills Road. Upon closer inspection, they are, to say the least, shocking.

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Detail from the crude, racist graphic affixed to Bouie's signs.

The item was first reported on the Republican blog site PoliticoMafioso early Tuesday morning, with images of the sticker posted. I ran up to both intersections because I wanted to verify that they were still there. As of Tuesday afternoon, they were. PoliticoMafioso also reports that other Bouie signs were cut up.

Bouie was soundly rejected by LD6 Republicans Tuesday, pulling only 21.34 percent in the contest, with competitor Sam Crump earning 43.35 percent of the vote, and Carl Seel, garnering 35.32 percent.

Hard-right Republicans had fierce objections to Bouie's candidacy, mainly because he had switched his affiliation from Democrat to Republican to run. They claim Bouie was less than truthful on when he changed from a "D" to an "R." Bouie also enjoyed support from moderates in his party, including those who opposed the Russell Pearce, anti-immigration wing of the local GOP. This enraged rank-and-file, red meat-eating GOPers no-end.

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A defaced Carl Seel sign, one of many Sam Crump says were dumped off at Crump's law firm.

Still, you'd think Republicans would've seen Bouie's personal story, as a UA and then Tampa Buccaneers football player, an MBA-holder and business owner, a cancer-survivor and Christian, to be perfect for an up-and-coming Republican, one with crossover appeal for Democrats. Instead, local GOPers were all torn out of shape about how, when and why Bouie registered as a Republican for the first time. At least that's what they claim they were all torn up about.

I wasn't able to reach Bouie for comment, but I was able to get hold of his rivals in the LD6 GOP primary, Sam Crump and Carl Seel. Both men condemned the vandalism of Bouie's signs, while decrying in more strenuous terms the defacement of their own signs. Neither man had seen the Bouie signs in question. Crump said that scores of his signs and Seel's had been scrawled over with messages accusing the candidates of hate-mongering, and then dumped off at Crump's law offices.

Crump sent me some of the images of the Seel signs in question, one of which has "HATER," written over it. Another reads. "Better luck next time," in black ink. Sure, it's vandalism, but hardly on par with the anti-Bouie sticker's racial slur and the sort of lowbrow cartoon Ku Kluxers would drool over. Or that illustration's implied death threat.

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A vandalized Crump/Seel sign...

Crump told me he reported the incident to the MCSO, and that they're investigating the vandalism. Don't hold your breath for the MCSO to do the same for Bouie.

“I will certainly press charges if they catch the person,” Crump said in a press release. “Tampering with campaign signs is a violation of free speech, it is theft, and it is just wrong.”

Crump expressed his displeasure with Bouie's wife for accusing Seel and his supporters of being members of a "white supremacist group" in an e-mail, and he repeated this in his press release.

Still, there's no excuse for grotesque racial caricatures such as the one on Bouie's signs. Hardly seems representative of Ronald Reagan's "Big Tent." Unless that's just a Big Tent for White People. As for Bouie himself, if the local GOP don't want ya, Tony. I'm sure the Dems will welcome you back with open arms. Democrats are funny like that.

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