The Social Protection Minister says she doesn't believe Fine Gael by-election candidate Verona Murphy was the victim of a character assassination.
However, Regina Doherty also said she doesn't think the Wexford candidate was trying to court a 'particular kind of right-wing vote' with her comments about asylum seekers.
Ms Murphy faced consistent scrutiny in the weeks leading up to Friday's vote after suggesting some asylum seekers need to be "deprogrammed" - comments she later apologised for.
The Irish Road Haulage Association's president by-election campaign in Wexford was ultimately unsuccessful.
Fianna Fáil's Malcom Byrne claimed the seat, while Ms Murphy was overtaken by Labour's George Lawlor for second place by the time of the final count despite having received the second largest number of first preference votes.
Speaking to Newstalk's On the Record with Gavan Reilly, Minister Doherty said she herself has previously been in a situation where she had "a lot of media attention over maybe a ten-day period, entirely of her own making".
She said: "It's not a pleasant place to be - it's horrible and it's nasty. But it's entirely of your own making.
"So you learn by these mistakes and you move on. I hope that's what's happened Verona - as said, I don't share some of her views, but that doesn't make her a bad candidate or a bad person.
"What I definitely don't think is that she went courting that particular kind of right-wing vote."
Minister Doherty also said she "doesn't subscribe" to her cabinet colleague Charlie Flanagan's claim that independent Dublin Fingal candidate Gemma O'Doherty got a 'free pass' from the media for remarks she has made.
Separately, Minister Doherty also reflected on her own party's performance in the by-election after Fine Gael failed to secure any of the four seats up for grabs.
She argued: "I know we didn't win any of the elections.
"The positives out of our campaign... [Dublin North West candidate] Emer Higgins has an incredible bright future, and I have absolutely no doubt that she will be one of our colleagues in a short number of months.
"Support in Fingal probably wasn't as good as it could have been yesterday... but I have to tell you having been on the doors with him, that the response we got for James Reilly was incredibly positive. And our vote in Wexford and Cork is both up."