A newspaper reporter from the Thumb-region has lost her job after an apparent mishap while leaving a message for U.S. Republican Senate candidate John James. Now the story is making national news just as voters around the state and the nation make their way to the polls.

Brenda Battel, who worked for the Huron Daily Tribune in Bad Axe, had been trying to reach out to James by telephone on Monday to organize a post-election interview. After leaving the original message, she apparently didn't hang up the phone properly and then followed up by making obscene remarks about James, who is running against incumbent U.S. Democratic Senator Debbie Stabenow.

Below is audio of the message released by John James' campaign. Again, there is explicit language in the following clip.

Here is a text version of what was said. Battel first inquires about a post-election interview. She leaves some information and return contact details. Then after apparently thinking she had hung up the phone, she is recorded saying this:

"Man, if he beats her. Jesus! F---ing John James. That would suck! I don’t think it’s going to happen though.”

The Huron Daily Tribune released a statement on their Facebook and website Monday evening responding to the incident involving their employee.

Kate Hessling, Editor at the Huron County Tribune, says in the article that Battel is no longer employed by the newspaper.

"I have listened to the voicemail left by Brenda Battel to Mr. James' campaign, and find no reason to defend this behavior. Brenda Battel's employment has been immediately terminated. The Huron Daily Tribune sincerely apologizes to Mr. James and to the public. These statements do not represent the views of the Tribune as a whole, nor do they reflect the actions of a responsible journalist." - Kate Hessling

James is trying to unseat Stabenow, who has held the Senate seat since 2001. An EPIC-MRA poll from late October showed Stabenow leading James by 7 points, much less than In September when the Democrat was leading by 23 points.


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