Republican Assemblyman Jim Wheeler in a statement on his website said he believes his job is to represent the people in his district.
"The media is having a good time with a clearly facetious statement I made in a town hall meeting earlier this year," he said. "They're attempting to spin an extreme example I used about supporting my constituents to accuse me of being racist."
Wheeler's remark, made in August at a meeting in Storey County, attracted little notice until Laura Martin, communications director for the Progressive Leadership Alliance of Nevada, discovered it while reviewing videotape, the Las Vegas Sun reported. She said she was doing that as part of research on mining issues.
"Just saw a video of Jim Wheeler saying he'd vote to bring back slavery if his constituents wanted it," she said in a tweet.
Wheeler said he made the remark because someone asked him about his vote in favor of a law allowing DNA testing for anyone charged with a felony. He said he supported the law in spite of his personal opposition because a majority of his constituents appeared to be for it.