Wilcox accused of trying to score political points off VA scandal

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By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman
By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman
By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman
By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman

PHOENIX -- As the anger over the VA crisis grows, yet another Arizona politician is being accused of exploiting the controversy to score political points.

Valley veterans are slamming Democratic congressional candidate Mary Rose Wilcox for placing political flyers Tuesday night on cars parked outside a meeting focused on problems with the Phoenix VA Health care System.

"I'm disappointed that somebody would go to that extent for a vote," said David Lucier, a Vietnam veteran who attended the meeting in central Phoenix. "We're trying very desperately to keep this issue and this situation non-partisan."

Hundreds of veterans packed the American Legion hall to vent their frustrations over allegations that 40 patients may have died while waiting for treatment at the VA hospital.

Wilcox is the second Arizona politician to take heat for using the medical crisis to bolster their campaign.

Congresswoman Kyrsten Sinema recently apologized for sending a fundraising email about the VA deaths.

But unlike Sinema, who immediately said she was sorry, Wilcox wasn't fully apologizing.

Wilcox was unavailable for an interview, but in a written statement, she said, "The campaign regrets any misunderstanding that may have been caused by volunteers or field organizers putting fliers on cars in the neighborhood."

Wilcox is vying for the Democratic nomination in Arizona's 7th Congressional District. The winner of the August primary is expected to win the general election since the district leans heavily Democratic.

Other notable candidates in the Democratic primary include former state Rep. Ruben Gallego and state Senator Steve Gallardo.