Republican Congressional District 3 candidate Gabriela Saucedo Mercer came under criticism this week for remarks attributed to her about Arabs and Muslims.
Saucedo Mercer, who won Tuesday's primary election and will face U.S. Rep. Raúl Grijalva in the general election, says the comments were taken out of context.
According to the blog The Tucson Minaret, a June 2011 Saucedo Mercer interview with a conservative website quotes her as saying the primary goal of Middle Easterners “is to cause harm to the United States. So why do we want them here, either legally or illegally?”
Presumably referring to areas near the U.S. and Mexican border, she adds that Qurans and prayers rugs have been found in the vicinity, indicating something sinister is at play.
Grijalva released a compilation of the video this week, prompting this election night comment from Saucedo Mercer to Arizona Public Media: "When he puts out that kind of stuff, that tells you about the character of the person."
"He's calling me a racist? Come on. He's the one that is advocating for La Raza studies, La Raza means the race. He's the one that is attached to MEChA, and he calls himself a Chicano. Who's the racist here?"
Saucedo Mercer is herself a legal immigrant from Mexico.
"They took a bunch of interviews and spliced it and make it look out of context," Mercer said.
Listen to a wrap up of Southern Arizona congressional primary races, including Mercer's response to the video: