State Sen. Kim Hendren, the top GOP candidate against Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D-Ark.), has admitted referring to Sen. Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerOvernight Health Care: Schumer calls for tying ObamaCare fix to children's health insurance | Puerto Rico's water woes worsen | Dems plead for nursing home residents' right to sue Crying on TV doesn't qualify Kimmel to set nation's gun agenda Trump knocks ‘fake’ news coverage of his trip to Puerto Rico 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