NASHVILLE, Tenn- Video of state Rep. Ben West on a content-sharing Internet site has caused a stir in political circles.
The video on YouTube shows the Democrat from Hermitage speaking at a Democratic breakfast.
"There was a Hispanic, Republican police officer who ran against me. I am still trying to figure out what the hell that is," West said in the speech captured on video.
In November, West had a substantial win against Juan Borges, a Metro police officer ran for political office for the first time.
Members of the Tennessee Republican Party said they were disappointed at what they call racist derogatory remarks.
"We think Ben knows better than to make statements like he did," said Tennessee Republican Party Executive Director Chris Devaney. "Ben needs to apologize not only to Juan, but also to the people of Nashville and the police department."
West said there was no need to apologize. He wouldn't comment on camera but told NewsChannel 5 on the phone that Borges is a Hispanic, Republican police officer and there's nothing wrong with saying that.
"I think it was the inflection in his voice. To us, it really had a real tinge of racist overtones," Devaney said.
West denied racism completely and said the Republicans were just upset about his victory. The GOP wasn't only bothered by the statement, but also by the response. They said they have to respond in turn.
"I think he was using someone's race to make a joke and that's unfortunate," Devaney said.
In a statement, Juan Borges said he hopes he does not have that type of attitude while representing his constituents on Capitol Hill and hopes he represents everyone equally.