Jeff Flake, a congressman and the Republican candidate for Senate from Arizona, released an ad on Thursday accusing Democratic opponent Richard Carmona of having anger issues and intimidating women.
"There was an angry pounding on the door in the middle of the night," says Cristina Beato, acting assistant secretary at the Department of Health and Human Services and Carmona's former boss, says in the ad. "I'm a single mom. I feared for my kids and for myself. It was Richard Carmona."
Beato testified about the incident in 2007, saying Carmona screamed at her because they disagreed on an issue, Politico reported in May. She called him "extremely angry" and said he was a "living nightmare" as an employee who had difficulty working as her subordinate.
Carmona, a former U.S surgeon general, denied the claims to Politico at the time. His campaign spokesman Andy Barr said Thursday the allegations are "completely false," calling Beato "a partisan who was caught trying to politicize science at HHS and couldn't be confirmed to a post because she lied on her resume."
"It's no secret that Dr. Carmona pushed back on her attempts to spin science for political gain, but this accusation is a work of fiction," Barr said in an email. "Congressman Flake's decision to run this false ad is deplorable and shows how desperate he is."
Beato mentions her testimony to Congress in the ad and says Carmona has an "issue with anger, with ethics and with women."
"Richard Carmona should never, ever, be in the U.S. Senate," she concludes.
Watch the ad:
The Flake campaign has pushed the message that Carmona is erratic, to the point that the Democrat was asked about it in a Wednesday evening debate in Phoenix. Carmona said that he has held high-stress jobs and that could be why he is accused of having anger problems.
"I've had tough positions throughout my life and sometimes leadership requires you to make those tough decisions," Carmona said. "Every one of these issues that have come up, of course when I was vetted to become attorney general and went through Senate confirmation, they were all looked at and the fact is I got a unanimous Senate confirmation as surgeon general. So I think the Senate pretty much saw that there was no merit in any of those allegations."
Carmona raised $2.2 million in the third quarter, Politico reported Oct. 3. Polling is close on the race, but a survey from the Democratic-leaning Public Policy Polling reported the same day that Carmona was two points ahead.