Jesse Walters has joined the small but growing ranks of openly gay elected officeholders in Miami-Dade. Walters edged out incumbent Prospero G. Herrera II in yesterday's election and joins the likes of North Miami councilman Scott Galvin and Miami Beach Commissioner Michael Gongora as an openly gay officeholder in a county where Anita Bryant's politics of hate once reigned. Though, during the campaign, Walters' signs were defaced with homophobic slurs.
Four of five Miami Shores' at-large council seats were up for grabs in last night's election, and Walters came in fourth in the voting with 681 votes. The rest of the night's winners were two incumbent councilmen and a former mayor. Herrera finished fifth and won't return to the council. Walters will be the only fresh face on the dais.
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Walters had several campaign signs defaced after he sent out a flyer featuring a picture of his partner of 23-years and their 15-month-old daughter. Pieces of masking tape with words written on them like "faggot" and "shit lover" were found on Walter's signs. Though, now that he's finished fourth, he will serve a two-year term on the council.
About 23 percent of registered voters in the relatively small village of Miami Shores, best known as home of Barry University, turned out. Former Mayor Jim McCoy finished first in the vote and will likely be selected by the council to return to his former position as mayor.