U.S Rep. Renee Ellmers of North Carolina's 2nd Congressional District.
U.S Rep. Renee Ellmers of North Carolina's 2nd Congressional District.
U.S Rep. Renee Ellmers of North Carolina’s 2nd Congressional District.

RALEIGH, N.C. — A spokesperson for North Carolina U.S. Rep. Renee Ellmers responded today with a statement from the congresswoman following criticism yesterday of a statement many perceived as an anti-LGBT slight against Democratic congressional candidate Clay Aiken.

Jessica Wood originally released a statement linking Aiken, who is gay, to San Francisco, a common tactic used to smear LGBT people.

Wood called Aiken a “performer whose political views more closely resemble those of San Francisco than Sanford.”

Wood added, “Renee best represents the values of the voters in the 2nd District and remains focused on fighting for their families.”

The statement garnered swift criticism from Dan Gurley, a gay, former executive director of the North Carolina Republican Party, who called Wood’s remarks “offensive and childish,” “uncreative” and “small minded.” Other LGBT North Carolinians also criticized Wood’s statement.

Wood responded to qnotes‘ inquiry about the statement today, releasing a new statement from Ellmers. The new statement does not address any of the criticism leveled at Wood or Ellmers.

qnotes has again followed up with Wood, asking for clarification on the original statement’s sentiments and if Ellmers truly believes her North Carolina LGBT constituents belong in San Francisco, instead of the hometowns in which they were born, grew up, went to school and now work and raise families of their own.

The written statement reads:

“We welcome Clay to the race, but first we recognize he’ll have to win a Democratic primary with Keith Crisco in a district that overwhelmingly chose Mitt Romney over Barack Obama and are unlikely to send a liberal to Washington who will further the President’s agenda.

“Regardless of whomever wins that primary, the voters of our district will have a clear choice between a Congresswoman with a conservative track record of fighting for their families and a liberal who supports the failed Obama Administration policies that have seen family incomes shrink, the destruction of our health care system and a jobless so called recovery.

“I welcome that debate to get our economy growing again with new jobs and real pay raises for our working middle class families. I also look forward to replacing Obamacare with an affordable health care plan that let’s people keep their insurance and doctors. Those are the real issues that need to be addressed.”

Wood is the owner of an independent political consulting firm, Majority Connections, based in Durham. She describes herself as “Conservative, Christian, Southern” on her Twitter profile.

Aiken announced his bid to unseat Ellmers on Wednesday. He’ll first face two opponents in a Democratic primary this May.

Matt Comer

Matt Comer previously served as editor from October 2007 through August 2015 and as a staff writer afterward in 2016.

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