Virginia Republican leader John Whitbeck told an anti-Semitic joke at a rally for Virginia GOP gubernatorial candidate Ken Cuccinelli on Tuesday, according to The Washington Post.
Whitbeck, the Republican leader in Virginia's 10th Congressional District, called himself a Catholic and began to tell a joke in which the "head of the Jewish faith" hands a "ceremonial piece of paper" to the pope.
"Well, that was a bill for the Last Supper," the pope says, according to the punchline of Whitbeck's joke.
Chris La Civitia, a campaign strategist for Cuccinelli, tried to distance the tea party favorite from the joke, telling The Washington Post he didn't know who Whitbeck was.
"It’s wholly inappropriate and not connected to the campaign. And it’s not reflective of Ken Cuccinelli," La Civitia said.
Cuccinelli will face Democratic candidate Terry McAuliffe in the November gubernatorial election. He's gained the support of influential Republicans, including Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Rick Santorum, a former Republican senator from Pennsylvania, but faces an uphill battle with left-leaning and moderate voters given his history of contentious commentary.
In May, Cuccinelli told voters that he doesn't "think government should be doing anything about birth control." prompting Planned Parenthood to release a video encouraging women to educate each other on Cuccinelli's record on reproductive rights.
Cuccinelli last year criticized Washington's urban pest control, claiming the city protects rats from being killed. He compared the strategy to U.S. immigration policy.
"So, anyway, it is worse than our immigration policy," Cuccinelli said. "You can't break up rat families. Or raccoons, and all the rest, and you can't even kill 'em. It's unbelievable."