A final day of campaigning before Tuesday's primary was marred in St. Petersburg by reports of anti-Semitic vandalism aimed at former Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine, who Jewish and is seeking the Democratic nomination for governor.
According Max Flugrath, a campaign spokesman for Levine, campaign signs were vandalized with swastika symbols at the southeast corner of 66th St. N and Tyrone Boulevard, outside Bond Diamonds, which is now defunct.
"As Governor, I will never be held hostage to hatred, or bigotry, or intolerance," Levine said in a statement. "Never. All candidates should speak out against this intolerable behavior. We are better than the haters, bigger than the bigots, and tomorrow we will show them why."
The vandalism got a swift response from St. Pete Mayor Rick Kriseman and Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn.
St. Petersburg police spokeswoman Yolanda Fernandez said the department did not appear to have a report on the signs as of early Monday afternoon.
A senior adviser for the Levine campaign, Christian Ulvert, said someone left a phone message about the incident at headquarters. A campaign worker went out to check on the signs, Ulvert said, and found a man who had already stopped to remove them on is own.
"We are exploring all options," Ulvert said in a statement. "We hope Mayor Kriseman alerts his police department to review the matter and see if any area footage is available."
Kevin King, Kriseman's chief of staff, said police would look into the vandalism.
"The mayor would obviously like them to look into what they can," King said.
The defacement drew outrage from two of Levine's opponents in the Democratic primary.