The State

Admitting that his conduct toward female staffers was "sometimes inappropriate and unprofessional," a contrite Rep. Jim Bates (D-San Diego) apologized for his behavior and appealed for voters' forgiveness. "The kidding around and flirting that I did, while I didn't think it was wrong at the time, I now realize was not appropriate in some instances," he said. Bates, who is running for reelection to a fourth two-year term in the heavily Democratic 44th Congressional District, has been at the center of a major political controversy since a small weekly Washington newspaper last week anonymously quoted former and current Bates staffers as complaining that Bates has habitually sexually harassed and verbally abused his aides. Since the article, the National Republican Congressional Committee has contributed $5,000 to Bates' opponent, Rob Butterfield Jr., and paid for large ads in the San Diego Union and Tribune costing $18,000.

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