(CNN) – Ken Buck, a Republican Senate candidate in Colorado, is causing a stir after recent comments asking voters for support "because I do not wear high heels."
The off-color remark that drew roaring laughter at a recent campaign event, came in response to an ad campaign from his GOP opponent in the primary race, former Lieutenant Gov. Jane Norton. In the ads, Norton says Buck is not "man enough" to attack her in person but instead lets third-party groups do it.
"She has questioned my manhood; I think it's fair to respond," says Buck to more laughter from the crowd. "I have cowboy boots on. They have real bull- on 'em. That's Weld County bull-, not Washington D.C. bull-."
A spokesman for Buck blames Norton for injecting the gender issue into the campaign.
"The Norton campaign wants gender politics to be an issue in this campaign. They are the ones who have talked about it. Last week, she even put up a television ad in which she says, "you would think Ken would be man enough to do it himself," spokesman Owen Lofthus said in an e-mail to reporter.
"The fact is, gender has nothing to do with Norton's drop in the polls or Ken's Buck's rise, no matter how hard the Norton campaign try to use personal attacks on Ken Buck to shift the campaign away from the issues," Lofthus also said.
Meanwhile Norton spokeswoman Cinamon Watson told the Grand Junction Sentinel that Buck "is going to have to use all of his best lawyer-speak to explain this really stupid statement."
Norton enjoys the backing from national Republicans and has a clear money advantage over Buck. But Buck, the Weld Country District Attorney, has enjoyed strong support from the Tea Party movement and leads Norton in several recent polls by single digits.
The winner of that contest will race the victor of the Democratic battle between incumbent Sen. Michael Bennet and former state House Speaker Andrew Romanoff this November.
Both party's primaries will be held on August 10.