ETHICS COMPLAINT: Lawmaker Helland Accused

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Jake Highfill, a Republican candidate for the 39th district, says his opponent, incumbent Representative Erik Helland, offered him a state job and a job with the 2012 Republican campaign -- if Highfill just drops out of the race.

"Eric called me and told me that he didn't want me to run," Highfill says, "Offered me two jobs not to run against him and when I declined the offer he got forceful with me...he was swearing, shouting. Told me I don't have a chance.  He got very angry and more direct, that 'you're just a kid'. Very disrespectful to me."

Highfill filed an ethics complaint with the state that included a text message between him and Representative Helland that reads:  "I thank you for the offer but I am going to respectful decline.  If you want me to call you I could later or tomorrow."  Helland reportedly replied, "I have time now."

Representative Helland says the allegations are not true.  "I strongly deny the allegations and it's unfortunate that my opponent stoops to this because we really need to be focused on jobs, the economy and education reform."  Helland would not say whether he called or texted Highfill.

Representative Helland and Mr. Highfill are expected to face each other in the June Republican primary election. The House Ethics Committee could hold a hearing on the complaint as soon as Thursday.