Kentucky U.S. Senate candidate Matt Bevin is being rebuked by a national Republican group for defending Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes against a GOP spokesman who referred to her as an “empty dress” this week.

The comments were made by National Republican Senatorial Committee spokesman Brad Dayspring about Grimes in an -email to a Washington, D.C.-based newspaper.

Since then, state and national Democrats have pounced on the comment as a “sexist smear” while attempting to tie them to Republican Sen. Mitch McConnell.

In an interview with The Courier-Journal’s James Carroll, Bevin, who is running against McConnell in the GOP primary, followed suit. Saying he is married with six children, Bevin said calling Grimes an “empty dress” remarks was “insulting” and “beneath the dignity of a United States senator.”

That drew a sharp criticism from NRSC spokeswoman Brook Hougesen.

“It’s frankly embarrassing—and as a woman it’s offensive—that someone proclaiming to be conservative would lend credence to the Barack Obama gender war playbook that aims to smear good and decent Republicans,” Hougeson told WFPL in a statement.

“It’s more plausible that a candidate who is down 50 points in the polls and using taxpayer funded government aides to accompany him to television appearances on liberal MSNBC is grasping for relevance. Mr. Bevin might as well be working for Alison Lundergan Grimes at this point, they utilize the same playbook.”

Republicans argue Democrats have used similar rhetoric to describe conservative women, such as Oklahoma Gov. Fallin and former Alaskah Gov. Sarah Palin in years past.

It’s unclear what political benefit the Bevin campaign had in getting involved in this spat, but the Louisville businessman did tell The C-J the “empty dress” comment doesn’t help the GOP with its gender gap in the polls.