THE LOWDOWN ON LOWDEN…. It’s a tough call deciding which of Sue Lowden’s ongoing problems is worse. The Republican Senate hopeful in Nevada, who clearly hasn’t had a particularly good spring, seems to have proven herself not quite ready for prime time. The question, though, is which of her two main controversies will do more damage.

The first is the ongoing humiliation surround Lowden’s chickens-for-checkups problem. This week the Republican candidate participated in a forum with her primary rivals, and Nevada journalist Jon Ralston brought up the controversy. He noted Lowden’s original quote, in which she talked about bartering and concluded, “I’m not backing down from that system.” Lowden responded, “No, I never said ‘from that system.’ I never said, ‘from that system.’”

Her response was an unambiguous lie.

But at least the chicken debacle and Lowden’s subsequent untruths aren’t illegal. Accepting a $100,000 in-kind contribution, however, is a felony.

This week, we learned that Lowden’s campaign bus, an RV worth more than $100,000, was donated to her by a former casino owner who supports her Senate bid.

“Let’s talk about my RV,” she told a local reporter. “It was donated. I’m really fortunate. Anyone could have had an RV if they had a supporter who wanted to donate.”

And that’d be true, if the value of the RV were a few thousand dollars. But as a would-be senator (or at least her staff) should know, there are legal limits on campaign contributions.

To try to spin her way out of the mess, Lowden changed course yesterday, and said she “misspoke.” The RV wasn’t actually “donated” after all, the Republican candidate insisted.

But Nevada’s Department of Motor Vehicles came to a different conclusion, noting that Lowden’s name is on the title.

Here’s the part I don’t get: why are Republicans in D.C. putting up with this? Lowden is their preferred candidate, and the best bet, in their opinion, to defeat Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D) in November.

Haven’t they sent out competent staffers to help her out? Shouldn’t the party have prepped her on how to be a capable candidate for statewide office? At this point, Lowden seems to be embarrassing herself, and the GOP establishment must be kicking itself for not having done more to get Lowden on track.

Steve Benen

Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.