A Primary For South Carolina Leaves A Democratic Candidate With A History Of Abuse

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Eric Lieberman Deputy Editor
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Archie Parnell won the Democratic primary for South Carolina’s 5th Congressional District, according to Politico, despite recently admitting to abusing his now ex-wife in the 1970s.

He is set to face the incumbent Republican Rep. Ralph Norman, who already defeated him in a special election race on June 20, 2017 following the nomination of the district’s former official, Mick Mulvaney, to the current administration as the Director of the Office of Management and Budget. The race was particularly close with Norman only winning by around 3 percent, or roughly two-thousand votes.

But with the recently surfaced divorce records obtained by The Post and Courier, it seems less likely that Parnell will be able to repeat his showing in the 2018 midterm election.

Parnell struck Kathleen Parnell several times after breaking down a glass door with a tire iron while he was a student at the University of South Carolina, according to a legal complaint cited by The Post and Courier. She told authorities she was beaten again at another point later on at night and that she didn’t want to remain married to him because she feared for her life.

Divorce was eventually finalized, and Kathleen reportedly acquired a restraining order against him.

Those court records were used against Parnell in mid-May by his own staff, many of whom fled following the realization that their boss once violently mistreated his wife. Parnell admitted to the heinous crime and has refused to step down as a Democratic candidate.

“This campaign has always been about the people of the 5th district, my home, but never about me,” Parnell said in a statement, according to The Post and Courier. “Forty-five years ago, while still a college student, I did something that I have regretted every single day since. In response to actions I feel unnecessary to specify, I lashed out and became violent with other people, including my former wife, which led to a divorce and monumental change in my life.”

He went on to say that his behavior was “inexcusable, wrong and downright embarrassing.”

“In light of this sad revelation, Archie Parnell has no choice but to withdraw from the race for the 5th Congressional District,” South Carolina Democratic Party Chairman Trav Robertson told The Post and Courier following the revelations. “His actions, though long ago, directly contradict the values of the Democratic Party.”

His opponents — Mark Ali, Sidney Moore, and Steve Lough, a former professional clown — didn’t fare nearly as well.

Even regardless of his past, Parnell will have an uphill battle in November because the district has a fairly strong Republican leaning, according to the Cook Partisan Voting Index. It also is 19 points more Republican-leaning than the nation overall, says FiveThirtyEight.

Norman caused quite a stir in April at a community event when he whipped out a loaded handgun and subsequently placed it on a table.

Proclaiming “I’m not going to be a Gabby Giffords,” the former Arizona congresswoman who was shot during a public event, Norman advocated during a “coffee with constituents” meeting for his right to protect himself. (RELATED: Illegal Cellphones Are Being Used To Assassinate Police Officers And Their Families)

“I’m tired of these liberals jumping on the guns themselves as if they are the cause of the problem,” Norman said at a restaurant in Rock Hill, South Carolina, according to Fox News. “Guns are not the problem.”

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