Michigan journalist caught saying Republican John James' victory would 'suck': report

A Michigan newspaper scribe was fired after leaving a voicemail to Republican Senate hopeful John James' campaign saying that if he defeats the longtime Democratic incumbent, Sen. Debbie Stabenow, it would “suck.”

"Man, if he beats her … Jesus! F---ing John James. That would suck! I don’t think it’s going to happen though,” Brenda Battel, a reporter for the Huron Daily Tribune, reportedly said in a voicemail to the James’ campaign.

The reporter initially called to organize a post-election interview with the Republican, who’s waging a serious challenge to the Democrat. “I’m looking to set up an appointment with Mr. James for some time on Wednesday for a phone interview regarding the election results,” she is heard saying according to an audio posted by the campaign.

After leaving her details, the reporter unsuccessfully tried to hang up the phone. She apparently believed her call was disconnected and went on to decry James’ potential victory.

The Tribune released a statement on Monday, announcing the departure of the reporter who made "inappropriate comments" about the candidate.

"I have listened to the voicemail left by Brenda Battel to Mr. James' campaign, and find no reason to defend this behavior," said Kate Hessling, the publication's editor. "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," she added.

"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."

— Kate Hessling, editor of the Huron Daily Tribune

Tori Sachs, James’ campaign manager, told the Daily Caller, which first reported the audio recording, that the voicemail is an example of the media doing “anything to keep the status quo and career politicians in power.”

“The liberal media can’t stand the idea of a job creator and combat veteran coming to Washington to shake up the system. This happened as we closed in within the margin of error,” he added.

"The liberal media can’t stand the idea of a job creator and combat veteran coming to Washington to shake up the system. This happened as we closed in within the margin of error."

— Tori Sachs, James’ campaign manager,

James is trying to unseat Stabenow, who has held the Senate seat since 2001. While his chances are considered slim, his campaign recently gained steam and polls indicate the Democrat’s lead is evaporating. An EPIC-MRA poll from late October showed Stabenow leading James by 7 points. In September, the Democrat was leading by 23 points.

“John James is giving 43-year politician Debbie Stabenow the fight of her political life, and there’s zero question she’ll be running scared these final days,” Tori Sachs, James’ campaign manager, told Fox News in a statement. Battel did not immediately respond to Fox News for comment.

The latest Change Research poll claims Stabenow is leading the race by mere 2 points and is losing support among Independents.