Susanne Atanus denied she sent an email Friday announcing her withdrawal from the 9th Congressional District race.
"There are people who are creative who can make it look on a server that it was for me," the controversial GOP candidate said in a phone interview. "Somebody made it look like it was from me. It's dirty politics. It's immaturity."
Atanus said she is not dropping out, despite repeated pleas from local and state GOP leaders urging the Niles woman to quit her campaign. She earned a surprise win in the March Republican primary and faces Democratic U.S. Rep. Jan Schakowsky of Evanston in the general election.
An email from an account listed on Atanus' Daily Herald candidate questionnaire was sent to the newspaper Friday afternoon. In the "To:" field, the message also was addressed to accounts associated with the Capitol Fax blog and the Cook County Republican Party.
"I'm withdrawing from this race," the email said. "I have health issues to take care of. Sorry to let down the voters."
Atanus said the email could be a hoax from someone who should have been enjoying the Fourth of July, instead of sitting "in front of a computer to do harm."
She made national headlines in January after telling the Daily Herald Editorial Board that "God is angry. We are provoking him with abortions and same-sex marriage and civil unions.
"Same-sex activity is going to increase AIDS," she said. "If it's in our military it will weaken our military. We need to respect God."