PORTLAND — A county Republican Party leader in Maine has come under fire from Democrats and fellow Republicans for an email they say belittles an openly gay state lawmaker.

The Portland Press Herald reports an email from the account of York County Republican Committee Chairman Jim Booth sent to party activists refers to Rep. Justin Chenette, a Democrat, as “Little Justine” on several occasions.

The email goes on to say “there is a lot of HATE” for Chenette, who became the nation’s youngest openly gay legislator when he was elected in 2012. It says someone needs to step forward and challenge him in the Senate District 31 race.

Chenette says he was upset by the email and the message it conveys to the LGBT community.

Booth didn’t return calls seeking comment.

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