MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – A GOP-endorsed Minnesota House candidate for a south metro district criticized her DFL opponent last month, citing her rival’s same-sex marriage and how she talks about her racial background.

Ali Jimenez-Hopper, of Apple Valley, is running for the District 57A seat, which will soon be vacated by Republican Rep. Tara Mack, who is retiring from office following a make-out scandal last year with a fellow lawmaker.

Jimenez-Hopper recently won the GOP’s endorsement to take Mack’s seat, and during her speech at the Republican endorsement convention in May, she spoke of her up-coming Democratic opponent, Erin Maye Quade, saying that she needs to be beaten, in part, because she supports the LGBT “lifestyle” and her discussion of race.

A YouTube video with sound of the speech, which was highlighted Thursday by The Column, can be watched below. In the clip, Jimenez-Hopper can be heard saying that Quade “brings up that she is half black and she uses that as a strength.” Jimenez-Hopper goes on to say that Quade supports gay rights and posts photos on social media of herself and her wife.

Quade is the DFL-endorsed candidate for District 57A. She is a longtime political organizer, having worked on campaigns for Gov. Mark Dayton, Sen. Amy Klobuchar and in the office of Congressman Keith Ellison. On Facebook, Quade responded to Jimenez-Hopper’s comments, saying that her “offensive rhetoric” and “divisive discourse” does not represent the values of their district.

“While she is busy dreaming up irrelevant and offensive personal attacks,” Quade wrote, “I’ll be here fighting for our community.”

On Thursday, Jimenez-Hopper said she apologized to anyone she might have offended with her comments, adding that she is new to the political process and that her words can sometimes be twisted around by her opponents.

“As a Hispanic American, it is my hope that voters in Apple Valley judge both of us by where we stand on the issues, and not simply by the color of our skin or who we are married to,” she said. “Apple Valley voters deserve a campaign centered around the important issues – taxes, education, and rising healthcare costs – and not one centered around tearing each other down.”

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