A Congressional candidate is under fire after an “awkward” joke about her Marine veteran opponent backfired

Congressional candidate Sara Jacobs faces backlash for allegedly calling her veteran opponent a "crusty old Marine." (Facebook/Sara Jacobs)

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A Democrat congressional candidate in San Diego has found herself in the midst of controversy after allegedly referring to her veteran opponent as a “crusty old Marine” during a campaign event — something she has since denied doing.

29-year-old Sara Jacobs, who is vying for outgoing Republican Representative Darrell Issa’s seat, was confronted about how she would fare with the district’s huge military population — one with the largest Marine Corps base on the west coast — against her opponent, retired Marine colonel and fellow Democrat Doug Applegate. She responded by saying, “It’s true… I’m not a crusty old Marine.”

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The incident has since been reported as an “awkward moment” with the room remaining “mostly silent.” The backlash against Jacobs’s comments came swiftly from both the left and the right.

“As somebody who proudly served our country and risked life and limb to defend our nation and our families, I believe that no candidate for public office should attack our service members,” Christina Prejean, an Air Force veteran and Democratic candidate, said in a statement to the San Diego Union-Tribune. “We serve because of our innate passion to protect our country. We should never tear down veterans.”

Jacobs apologized for the remark on Thursday with a statement on Facebook clarifying that she was not referring to Applegate:

An article came out this morning that took something I said out of context. I want to make it clear – this had nothing to do with Colonel Applegate, he was never mentioned, and I have nothing but respect for his military service. The comment was in response to a Marine who jokingly referred to himself that way first.

I called Colonel Applegate to make sure he knew this wasn’t about him. I apologize to any Marines or other members of the military who this offended. That was never my intention.

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