Republican challenger for the 52nd Congressional District Carl DeMaio has pledged to take on his own Republican Party to be more inclusive and accepting of diversity.
But Friday, a national conservative political action committee called for the resignation of DeMaio’s campaign manager for his comment about black people.
An internal campaign email obtained by NBC 7 to DeMaio’s staff from Campaign Manager Tommy Knepper offers tools for spotting a “tracker” – a person attending campaign events to catch a candidate saying or doing something that could be used against him.
Some red flags, Knepper wrote: being young and being black.
“We were hugely disappointed and frankly disgusted with the campaign manager there in California 52nd District and the comments he made about black people,” said Ali Akbar, a senior adviser to the board of the Black Conservative Fund, which said Knepper should resign.
In the email thread, DeMaio immediately responds by saying “drop black from the criteria.”
On Friday, NBC7 received an apology statement from Knepper.
“I apologize for my inappropriate and offensive comments, which do not reflect me or my values or the values of this campaign,” he said. “We value the support from all San Diegans in this election.”
Not enough, says Akbar.
"We want to see him step down. We want to see him terminated immediately. We don’t want to see him finish out this last stretch of the campaign,” Akbar said, adding that he was relieved that the attitude did not trickle up to the candidate.
“We were pleased to see that the candidate (DeMaio) in principle spurned him (Knepper) inside of that email, but it’s really wholly unnecessary to ‘red flag’ black attendees, and for that matter youth attendees, to GOP events,” Akbar said. “We need to be a party of inclusion.”
During a taping of NBC 7's "Politically Speaking" segment with candidates DeMaio and incumbent Scott Peters, DeMaio had little to say in response to questions about the email.
When asked by NBC7’s political expert Gene Cubbison what was up with the profiling of oppo trackers as young African Americans, DeMaio said:
“This is the dysfunction of politics. This doesn’t get anyone a job and that’s what San Diegans have told me they want me to focus on,” DeMaio said. “This doesn’t fix our financial crisis in our nation.”
Akbar says if Knepper isn’t off the payroll by Monday, his organization is going to be asking with his pocket book.
You can watch the entire “Politically Speaking” episode on Sunday at 9 a.m. right after “Meet the Press.”