Candidates for New Hampshire's 2nd Congressional District are speaking out after a state lawmaker described one of them as "ugly as sin."
The story has gained national attention and has both candidates denouncing the remarks. Republican state Representative Steven Vaillancourt wrote a blog post on Friday after he says he saw a poll that claimed more attractive candidates have the upper hand with voters.
In the blog, he wrote, "Does anyone not believe that Congressman Annie Kuster is as ugly as sin?"
Vaillancourt then compared her to a drag queen.
"Look, it's rude and offensive," Congresswoman Kuster said. "But I have a thick skin."
Kuster's Republican challenger, Marilinda Garcia, said the post was just plain mean.
"She doesn't deserve to be treated that way," Garcia said.
Congresswoman Kuster said Vaillancourt's comments reflect a broader issue with the Republican Party.
"I am more frustrated with the positions they stand for, and frankly, that leads to an environment where people say disrespectful things," Kuster said.
Garcia said she is frustrated that exactly three weeks before the election, the conversation has turned to this.
"Looks and appearance seem to supersede commentary and observation and the other things that are more important," Garcia said.
In Vaillancourt's blog, he called Garcia, "One of the most attractive women on the political scene anywhere."
Garcia, who has worked with Vaillancourt during her four terms as a state representative, said the comments are not surprising and she is not at all flattered.
"He certainly is an equal opportunity offender," Garcia said.
NECN tried to reach Vaillancourt for comment, but no one answered when crews knocked at his Manchester home. He later sent an email referring NECN to his latest blog entry, which was posted Monday evening. Vaillancourt answers reporters' questions about whether or not he stands by his statements, writing, "Stand by the fact that Ms. Garcia is better looking than Ms. Kuster? If the reporters themselves don't see that, then they should question their own abilities to function."
In that same blog, Vaillancourt makes it clear, none of this is about supporting his party affiliation. In fact, he went on to criticize Republican gubernatorial candidate Walt Havenstein and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie.
"Anyone who has followed what I've written (more than 500 posts this past year) knows that neither looks nor race nor sexual orientation nor sex matters a whit to me," Vaillancourt wrote.
As for the 2nd Congressional District Race, the most recent poll shows Kuster with a two point lead over Garcia.