John James, the Republican Senate candidate from Michigan, received an unexpected voicemail to the campaign office. A Michigan reporter left a message asking for an interview, but then exposed her true feelings about the election after she thought she had hung up the phone.
The call reportedly came from Brenda Battel, a reporter from the Huron Daily Tribune. The Daily Caller News Foundation obtained the voicemail and shared it to YouTube. You can listen to the call in its entirety above.
Battel begins by requesting an interview for November 7, the day after the election. She leaves her contact information (which the Daily Caller redacted from the call) and attempts to end the call. But she must not have realized the call was still connected.
Battel is heard saying that she hopes Democratic incumbent Debbie Stabenow wins the election, and goes on to insult John James. The exact wording was, “Man, if he beats her… Jesus! F***ing John James. That would suck! I don’t think it’s going to happen though.”
It’s unclear if Battel initially knew that those final sentiments made it onto the voicemail. In the clip that was shared online, the call ends without any further comments that may have indicated Battel realized the call was still connected.
According to her Linkedin page, Brenda Battel has been working for the Huron Daily Tribune since June 2016. She states that her coverage areas includes “government, agriculture and renewable energy.” The newspaper is located in Bad Axe, Michigan, a small town in Huron County. It is located more than 100 miles north of Detroit. Since the news of the voicemail broke online, Battel has changed her location on Linkedin from Bad Axe to “Greater Detroit area.”
Prior to joining the newspaper, Battel’s previous work experiences included freelance writing, tutoring and working as a counselor at a camp for children and adults with special needs. She earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Western Michigan University in 1997.
The Huron Daily Tribune has not yet commented on the voicemail. Brenda Battel has not yet addressed it on her social media pages either. It’s likely she is receiving a lot of emails and calls; critics have been sharing a link to her contact information from the newspaper’s website on Twitter.
John James retweeted the Daily Caller News Foundation’s story, but did not directly comment on the contents of the voicemail. His campaign manager, Tori Sachs, told the news outlet, “It shows you that some media will do 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.”
As referenced above, businessman John James is challenging Democrat Debbie Stabenow for the Senate. She has been serving in Congress since 1996, and was first elected to the Senate in 2000.
Early on in the race, polls showed Stabenow with a sizable lead over James; some polls had her ahead by as many as 20 points. But the race has appeared to tighten in recent weeks.
A final poll by Mitchell Research Communications was conducted November 5 and released the morning of the election. It indicated the race had tightened even more. 49 percent of those surveyed said they planned to vote for Stabenow. 46 percent preferred John James. But that lead was within the poll’s margin of error, which was +/-3.4 percent.
READ NEXT: John James Net Worth: 5 Fast Facts