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An email from Udall legislative director Joe Britton shows that the office was concerned about the negative media attention surrounding the cancellations.

“We need to move on this ASAP — or we’ll be forced to challenge the 249K number ourselves. It is wildly off or at least very misleading and reporters keep repeating it,” says Mr. Britton in a Nov. 14 email.

Mr. Owens disagreed with those who accused Udall staffers with attempting to bully or intimate state employees.

“I read the emails, and it seemed to be just a disagreement about how to characterize this figure, much as we might have any number of disagreements,” said Mr. Owens.

The Republican National Committee released radio ads Monday criticizing Mr. Udall and Senate Democrats running for re-election in other states for saying that they could keep their insurance policies under the Affordable Care Act, which received Politifact’s “Lie of the Year” award in 2013.