Congressional candidate Mike Pompeo issued an apology Thursday to opponent Raj Goyle, saying his campaign accidentally directed Pompeo supporters to an online blog post assailing Goyle's religion and ethnic heritage.
A Pompeo statement said his campaign office "inadvertently posted a link to a tremendously offensive blog post."
The link was posted to Pompeo's Facebook page on Wednesday and tweeted to his Twitter followers. Campaign officials deleted the social-networking links when they realized the content of the blog post.
The post referred to Goyle, a U.S.-born citizen of Indian heritage, as "just another 'turban topper' we don't need in Congress or any political office that deals with the U.S. Constitution, Christianity and the United States of America!!!"
The post was written by Bob Pinkstaff of Wichita, a retired Marine gunnery sergeant who claims the country is being invaded by Mexicans and Muslims and that only Christians should hold public office.
Pompeo and Goyle are locked in a close struggle for the 4th District congressional seat being vacated by Rep. Todd Tiahrt, R-Goddard.
A SurveyUSA poll commissioned by KWCH-TV showed Pompeo with a 49 percent to 42 percent lead.
Both campaigns claimed to be pleased by the result of Thursday's poll — the Pompeo camp because it showed their candidate ahead and the Goyle camp because the spread was within the poll's margin of error, plus or minus 4.1 percentage points.
Pinkstaff said he was surprised by the widespread reaction to his post, which he said he wrote after Goyle dodged a question about his religion during a radio interview.
"Like his comrade Obama, he wouldn't give an answer, only that he was not a Christian," Pinkstaff wrote. "This guy could be a Muslim, a Hindu, a Buddhist, etc., who knows, only God, the Shadow and ... Goyle knows! One thing's for sure ... Goyle is not a Christian!" the post said.
Goyle has said he was raised in the Hindu tradition of his parents and attended Christian schools. He says he believes in God and the teachings of Jesus, although he does not consider himself a member of any particular denomination.
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