It’s been nearly two months since Democratic congressional candidate Archie Parnell’s past came back to haunt him.
News of a decades-old domestic violence incident involving his first wife sent his supporters scrambling … effectively erasing Democrats’ best chance to pick up a congressional seat in what many believe will be a “blue wave” election.
Parnell stayed in the race, though, and has continued to receive support from top Democrats including powerful state representative Gilda Cobb-Hunter.
“I don’t get it,” one unaffiliated observer told us this week. “Is tribalism that strong?”
Good question …
In fact Cobb-Hunter’s ongoing support for Parnell is especially curious in light of her assault allegations against a male lawmaker.
This week, Parnell’s problems got worse. According to a report from Daniel Marans of The Huffington Post, “six former paid Parnell staffers who spoke to HuffPost anonymously to protect their employment prospects described a candidate still plagued by a hair-trigger temper that occasionally caused them to fear for their physical safety.”
“I’ve never seen a candidate who was basically violent and belligerent toward staff and would turn violent and belligerent within seconds and out of nowhere,” one of the ex-staffers told Marans.
In other words Parnell’s “past” anger management issues appear to be very much a part of his present … if these reports are to be believed.
Parnell’s campaign denied the allegations, telling Marans “these are personnel issues and we’re not going to be commenting any further.”
A former tax attorney with Goldman Sachs who originally mulled running as a “Republican,” Parnell came within three points of knocking off U.S. congressman Ralph Norman in a special election for the fifth district last June. And despite the domestic abuse drama swirling around him, he still won sixty percent of the vote in a Democratic primary election last month (although in fairness he was running against a literal socialist clown).[timed-content-server show=’2018-Jan-17 00:00:00′ hide=’2018-Jul-31 00:00:00′]
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But Parnell’s hope of upsetting Norman and “flipping the fifth” back to Democratic control now seems like a pipe dream – even against a candidate who barely won his party’s primary a year ago (and who whipped out a pistol at a constituent meeting earlier this year).
The fifth district was held by Democrats for 118 years prior to former U.S. congressman (and current White House budget director) Mick Mulvaney’s historic upset of liberal budget chairman John Spratt during the Tea Party wave election of 2010.
Not surprisingly, “Republicans” are overjoyed at the situation … albeit a little embarrassed their opposition research failed to uncover Parnell’s hidden past.
Either way, this is a big deal because it allows the national party (and its network of financial backers) to allocate scarce resources toward more competitive congressional contests – thereby increasing the likelihood the GOP will retain control of the U.S. House following the upcoming midterm elections (for whatever that’s been worth).
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