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Senate candidate Coggs drawing criticism after weekend comments

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SHOREWOOD -- Race has become a central issue in two political races after a comment made by state Representative Elizabeth Coggs. Coggs told a crowd to "vote for someone who looks like you," and it's now a comment she says has been taken out of context.

Coggs is fighting for a seat in Wisconsin's state Senate. At a convention on Saturday, July 28th, Coggs told people to "vote for someone that looks like you."

Representative Sandy Pasch believes that comment was in reference to her, as the only white candidate vying for Coggs' soon-to-be-open Assembly seat.

Milwaukee County Supervisor Nikiya Harris is one of Coggs' opponents in the 6th Senate District race -- along with Michael Mayo, Allyn Monroe Swan and Delta Triplett. On Monday, Harris called on Coggs to apologize to 10th District voters for her comment.

"Why do we have leaders that try to divide us by race? This is race baiting at its worst," Harris said.

Coggs' campaign released a statement saying her comments were misinterpreted, saying: "It's funny how a complex examination of redistricting and elections can be trivialized and reduced to an out-of-context comment about looks." The statement went on to say: "My comments were not aimed at any one person or district."

Coggs said her statement was about the complicated issue of redistricting and representation for Milwaukee's African-American community in state government.

Coggs declined a request for an on-camera interview.

Pasch responded to the controversy Monday, before facing off against her 10th Assembly District opponents -- Millie Coby, Ieshuh Griffin and Harriet Callier.

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