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Liberal paper alters quote, distorting Republican candidate's abortion stance and upending House race

PoliticsLiberal paper alters quote, distorting Republican candidate's abortion stance and upending House race

FIRST ON FOX: A liberal California newspaper was forced to issue a correction this week after printing a false quote from a Republican candidate, effectively distorting his stance on abortion, which the incumbent Democrat in the race then used as a fundraising tool.

It took more than three weeks for the Sacramento Bee to correct the candidate questionnaire it published on Feb. 5, in which it quoted Republican candidate and Stockton, California Mayor Kevin Lincoln as saying he is “anti-abortion,” when in fact he described himself as “pro-life” with exceptions for “rape, incest, and the health of the mother.”

“What is your view on abortion rights? What would you want Congress to do now, if anything?” the paper asked in the questionnaire.

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Kevin Lincoln abortion response

It took more than three weeks for the Sacramento Bee to correct the candidate questionnaire it published on Feb. 5, in which it quoted Republican candidate and Stockton, California Mayor Kevin Lincoln as saying he is “anti-abortion,” when in fact he described himself as “pro-life” with exceptions for “rape, incest, and the health of the mother.” (Screenshot/Sacramento Bee)

“I support the Supreme Court putting the power back in the hands of the states where it belongs. California is a pro-choice state. I am pro-life and support exceptions such as rape, incest, and the health of the mother. I am not going to Congress to support a federal abortion ban,” Lincoln wrote in his original answer.

The Sacramento Bee issued a correction to the article on Feb. 27, claiming the piece was “edited to conform to Associated Press style guidelines on abortion,” which dictate that modifiers “anti-abortion or anti-abortion rights” be used, rather than “pro-life, pro-choice or pro-abortion,” unless they are being used as proper names or in a quote, as was Lincoln’s case.

Before the piece was corrected, incumbent Democrat Rep. Josh Harder’s campaign sent out a fundraising email capitalizing on the false quote and blasting Lincoln’s abortion stance. “He’s on the record saying, ‘I am anti-abortion,’ as if that was something to be proud of!” Harder wrote in the email, making no mention of the exceptions Lincoln listed in his response.

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Harder campaign fundraising email

Before the piece was corrected, incumbent Democrat Rep. Josh Harder’s campaign sent out a fundraising email capitalizing on the false quote and blasting Lincoln’s abortion stance. (Josh Harder for Congress)

It’s unclear if Harder knew whether the quote was false at the time the email was sent, and neither his campaign, nor the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, responded to Fox News Digital’s request for comment.

The email led to Lincoln’s campaign, as well as the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC), accusing Harder of using the false quote intentionally, appearing to suggest his campaign worked in tandem with the Sacramento Bee.

“Josh Harder’s use of a deliberately-edited quote mischaracterizing Mayor Kevin Lincoln’s position in a key competitive race casts a long shadow. Harder must immediately correct his false fundraising solicitation and cease and desist from lying about Mayor Lincoln’s position,” Lincoln campaign spokesman Hector Barajas told Fox News Digital.

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Josh Harder, Kevin Lincoln

Democrat California Rep. Josh Harder (left) and Republican Stockton Mayor Kevin Lincoln (right). (Getty Images)

NRCC spokesperson Ben Petersen echoed Barajas, telling Fox News Digital, “There is no low self-serving Josh Harder won’t stoop to, and weaponizing a fake quote is just the latest example. Harder will be held accountable for lying to Central Valley families.”

The Sacramento Bee, Harder’s campaign and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee did not respond to Fox News Digital’s requests for comment.

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Sacramento Bee building

A man walks out of the offices of the Sacramento Bee March 10, 2006 in Sacramento, California. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Harder and Lincoln are joined in the race by Republicans Khalid Jeffrey Jafri and John McBride. California’s jungle primary system means the two candidates with the most votes on primary day, regardless of party, will advance to the general election in November.

Elections analysts rate the race as either “likely” or “solid” Democrat.

Get the latest updates from the 2024 campaign trail, exclusive interviews and more at our Fox News Digital election hub.

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