FLORENCE, Ariz. (AP) -- A Republican businessman running for Arizona's 1st Congressional District has apologized for saying most mass shootings in the U.S. are committed by Democrats.
Gary Kiehne made the remarks at a Republican primary debate Saturday in Florence, southeast of Phoenix. The eastern Arizona rancher said that "99 percent of (mass shootings) have been by Democrats pulling their guns out and shooting people."
On Monday, Kiehne issued a public apology and said his comments were inaccurate. He says he shouldn't have made the remarks without any reservations.
"This past weekend, I made a comment about the political affiliation of perpetrators of gun violence in the heat of a debate. I've since learned that the information that I based the comment off of was inaccurate and incorrect," Kiehne said.
"I've always believed that when you make a mistake, you should own up to it. Too many politicians today offer nothing but spin and excuses when they say something they shouldn't have. I'm not going to do that. Simply put, I shouldn't have made the comment, and I want to offer my apology for making it without any reservations."
Arizona House Speaker Andy Tobin is also running for the seat and said Kiehne should leave the race after a pattern of "bizarre and deeply offensive" remarks.
The Aug. 26 primary election will decide who faces incumbent U.S. Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick, a Democrat.