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April 24, 2014

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Bilbray campaign tries to clarify her ‘un-American’ comment toward Heck

Erin Bilbray

Erin Bilbray

Joe Heck

Joe Heck

One day after Democratic congressional candidate Erin Bilbray described her opponent's actions as un-American, her campaign is seeking to clarify her comments.

In an interview with Jon Ralston on Wednesday, Bilbray lambasted U.S. Rep. Joe Heck for criticizing her in a campaign fundraising mailer sent the day she announced her candidacy.

“I announced on July 1 with a very positive message about my family, my values and I was just actually surprised by the negative tone that he immediately took this far out,” Bilbray said on Ralston Reports. “I think he was wrong, and I think it discourages people from participating in the process, and that is wrong, and that is un-American.”

Today, however, her campaign manager Bradley Mayer sent a statement to the Sun saying Bilbray did not call Heck "un-American." Rather than Heck himself, Bilbray was describing the act of Heck’s campaign sending a negative email that could discourage people from running for office as "un-American," Mayer argued.

“The assertion that she called Joe Heck ‘un-American’ is false,” Mayer said. “She said that discouraging people from getting involved in the political process is un-American. … As someone who has worked tirelessly to help more women get involved in the political process, Erin's comments regarding Joe Heck's email pitch were to point out that this is the kind of rhetoric that discourages people, including women, from getting involved in the political process.”

Republicans jumped on Bilbray's comments Wednesday morning, pointing out Heck's military service record. Heck, a colonel in the U.S. Army Reserve, has served since 1991 and has been called to active duty three times.

Ralston spent several minutes of the program grilling Bilbray on her reaction to Heck's campaign mailer, which she had described in July as "an attack on women."

"I absolutely expected it to get dirty, maybe in the spring, but for him to come out that aggressively that early is not encouraging to women," she said." We don't have enough women in politics and the reason they don't want to get involved is because of that kind of negativity that Joe Heck expressed the first day that I announced.

“You know what the classy thing to do, the gentlemanly thing to do that early would be like, ‘Oh, I welcome somebody to participate in politics,’ but he didn’t do it. That turns women off.”

The entire interview can be viewed here.

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