Despite admitting Monday night to becoming “violent with other people, including my former wife” in the mid-1970s, South Carolina Democratic congressional candidate Archie Parnell has refused to quit the race.
“This campaign has always been about the people of the 5th district, my home, but never about me,” he told the Charleston Post and Courier Tuesday. “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.”
The unspecified actions, according to divorce records documenting allegations from the candidate’s ex-wife Kathleen Parnell and obtained by the Post and Courier, are as follows: In 1973, Archie Parnell used a tire iron to break into some friends’ apartment, “after being locked out for the protection of the Plaintiff,” who was inside.
Parnell then “did repeatedly strike the Plaintiff, with such force as to cause her acute physical injury,” his ex-wife alleged in the divorce records. Kathleen Parnell was “again accosted and beaten by the Defendant” later the same night, she said.
After filing for a divorce citing “acts of physical cruelty,” Kathleen Parnell obtained a restraining order, the Post and Courier reported. The divorce was finalized the next year.
Parnell did not deny the allegations when confronted about his past this week, the paper said.
“These actions were inexcusable, wrong and downright embarrassing,” Parnell told the Post and Courier Monday night, without specifying what actions he was referencing. “Since then, my life has been changed by a remarkable woman, two amazing daughters, a forgiving God and a career that has taught me to cherish what I have.”
The revelations by the Post and Courier prompted a massive exodus by Parnell’s campaign staff, rapid un-endorsements from numerous high-profile supporters and calls to quit the race from Democratic elders and organizations including the party’s congressional campaign committee.