State Sen. Kim Hendren, the top GOP candidate against Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D-Ark.), has admitted referring to Sen. Charles SchumerCharles SchumerCEOs praise House GOP border tax proposal Overnight Cybersecurity: Trump defends Flynn, blasts leaks | Yahoo fears further breach Overnight Finance: Trump's Labor pick withdraws | Ryan tries to save tax plan | Trump pushes tax reform with retailers MORE (D-N.Y.) as "that Jew."

First reported by conservative blogger Jason Tolbert, Hendren confirmed to the Associated Press that he used the term in a speech at a meeting of the Pulaski County Republicans.

"At the meeting, I was attempting to explain that, unlike Sen. Schumer, I believe in traditional values, like we used to see on 'The Andy Griffith Show,'" Hendren said, according to Tolbert. "I made the mistake of referring to Sen. Schumer as 'that Jew' and I should not have put it that way as this took away from what I was trying to say."

Hendren told the Associated Press that he meant nothing derogatory by the reference to Schumer's heritage.

''I ought not to have referred to it at all,'' Hendren said. ''When I referred to him as Jewish, it wasn't because I don't like Jewish people.''

-Aaron Blake