Three sources close to the campaign of Democratic state Rep. Norma Chavez in Austin and El Paso today are reporting that some of her closest local campaign staffers are abandoning ship just a week before the April 13 election. Lilly Ruiz, who has been with Chavez for years and also has worked in her Capitol office, is among those who have reportedly quit out of frustration with the candidates' most recent statements — calling her Democratic opponent Naomi Gonzalez a "lesbian, gay woman" at a campaign forum. 

It's an inauspicious start to early voting in the runoff election for Chavez, who was first sworn into the Texas House in 1996. Gonzalez beat Chavez in the primary election by 136 votes, and Chavez is on the defensive now, fighting for her political life. The campaign has not returned phone calls seeking comment. We'll keep you updated as we learn more.

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