SALEM, Ore. (AP) - The spokeswoman for Republican gubernatorial candidate Bud Pierce said Monday she has resigned because of a comment Pierce made during a debate about abuse of women.
Stacey Kafka said she quit as communications director for Pierce's campaign on Friday, a couple of hours after Pierce had said that successful women aren't as susceptible to domestic abuse and sexual violence as those on lower economic rungs. His remark drew scattered boos from the audience at the debate at the Portland City Club.
Kafka said that as a former low-paid TV reporter, she did not feel she was more prone to being targeted for abuse than a more highly paid woman.
"I fundamentally didn't agree with what was said about domestic violence. It's not political, it's a moral issue," Kafka said in a telephone interview with The Associated Press. "As a woman, I was offended by what was said, and knew a lot of other women would be offended as well."
Pierce, a Salem oncologist, said in a statement after the debate that "any woman, regardless of economic status, can be subject to domestic violence and sexual abuse. Sexual and physical abuse is morally wrong, is against the law, and must be opposed with all efforts."
He also apologized to Brown - who in the debate disclosed that she had been a victim of domestic violence - and "anyone else who may have taken my comments the wrong way."
Kafka's resignation, reported earlier by the Portland Tribune, came as Pierce is fighting to take the governorship from Brown in this predominantly Democratic state.
The Pierce campaign said Monday that Kafka resigned for personal reasons and that it has no further comment, the Portland Tribune reported.
Brown ascended to the governorship from her post as secretary of state when Gov. John Kitzhaber resigned amid an influence-peddling investigation. She and Pierce are competing to fill the remaining two years of Kitzhaber's term.
Kafka's fiancé, Jacob Daniels, was Oregon state director for Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump. Kafka said the Trump campaign recently transferred Daniels to Michigan, and that his transfer had nothing to do with her resignation.
In the debate, Pierce noted that a week previously, he had announced that he could no longer endorse Trump.
"I agree the Republican Party has absolutely, absolutely lost its way," he said, adding that he can't back Trump because "of the divisiveness and the rejection amongst many of the voters I needed to have look at me and consider me."
Kafka, who lives in Eugene, also said she has no regrets about resigning, and that "I feel very strongly about what I did."