Rep. Jim DeMint, a Republican congressman from South Carolina and a candidate for the U.S. Senate, has reprimanded a campaign staffer for a derogatory comment she made about lesbians in an e-mail. Ginny Allen, director of operations for DeMint's campaign, accidentally sent the e-mail to Lisa Hall, chairwoman of a local gay advocacy group, after Hall invited DeMint to attend a town hall meeting on gay issues.
Apparently thinking she was forwarding the e-mail to someone within the campaign, Allen wrote, "Come on farg give this dike a reply." The word "farg" was a shorthand reference to the last name of the person Allen intended to receive the e-mail, campaign director Terry Sullivan said Tuesday.
Allen was not fired, but DeMint said in a letter of apology Monday that he had personally reprimanded Allen. "Mrs. Allen's remarks do not reflect my beliefs or the character of the campaign," DeMint wrote in his letter to Hall. However, Hall said she was shocked by Allen's comments. "It hurt," she said. "My parents raised me to be a Christian and not to speak hateful of anyone, even when having a disagreement with somebody."
Sullivan said Allen would not be available for comment. DeMint, a three-term congressman who supports the Federal Marriage Amendment to ban same-sex marriage, faces Democrat Inez Tenenbaum in the November 2 election. Tenenbaum's campaign would not comment on the e-mail.