ST. PAUL,  (AP) - A Democratic legislator from Minnesota has apologized for a tweet he sent that referred to Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas as "Uncle Thomas."

Thomas, who is black, was part of a 5-4 majority Tuesday that invalidated part of the Voting Rights Act meant to deter racial discrimination in elections. "Uncle Tom" is a connotation to describe someone subservient to another and has its roots in a literary work about slavery.

Winkler deleted the tweet. He told The Associated Press that he realizes it was "too hot for the issue" but didn't intend it to be racially derogatory.

Winkler represents a west-suburban district and had been weighing a run for Minnesota secretary of state, the office that oversees elections. He says he ruled that out in recent days.