Dem House hopeful apologizes after reports he beat his ex-wife

Dem House hopeful apologizes after reports he beat his ex-wife
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A top Democratic congressional candidate in South Carolina is apologizing after a report that he abused his then-wife decades ago, but refusing calls from his own party to end his bid. 

Archie Parnell is running for a second time in South Carolina's 5th Congressional District after a surprisingly strong, yet unsuccessful, showing during the special election to replace Office of Management and Budget head Mick MulvaneyJohn (Mick) Michael MulvaneyTrump frustrated with aides who talked to Mueller The Hill's Morning Report — Mueller aftermath: What will House Dems do now? The Hill's Morning Report - Waiting on Mueller: Answers come on Thursday MORE (R). 

While Democrats had been hopeful Parnell could build on that success in a rematch against Rep. Ralph NormanRalph Warren NormanRepublicans offer 'free market alternative' to paid family leave Trump says Navy SEAL charged with war crimes will be moved to 'less restrictive confinement' House conservatives ask Trump to declassify documents underlying Mueller investigation MORE (R), the new allegations surfaced in The Post and Courier have put his campaign in jeopardy. 

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In court documents filed by Parnell's ex-wife in 1973 surrounding their divorce, she says that after friends took her to their apartment to protect her from Parnell, he broke into the apartment and "did repeatedly strike the Plaintiff, which such force as to cause her acute physical injury.”

She also says Parnell beat her again later that night. 

In light of the incident, Parnell's then-wife was given a restraining order by the court. 

Parnell apologized for his conduct in a statement 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 told the paper. 

"These actions were inexcusable, wrong and downright embarrassing ... 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 paper added that he has so far refused to end his campaign. 

The report has prompted a rebuke from ex-staffers as well as top Democrats in the state.

Parnell's campaign manager left the campaign, the Post and Courier reported. And state Democratic Party Chairman Trav Robertson called on Parnell to step aside. 

"In light of this sad revelation, Archie Parnell has no choice but to withdraw from the race for the 5th Congressional District," Robertson in a statement.

"His actions, though long ago, directly contradict the values of the Democratic Party."

Parnell had been the overwhelming favorite in the Democratic field ahead of the June 12 primary. While President TrumpDonald John TrumpImpeachment? Not so fast without missing element of criminal intent Feds say marijuana ties could prevent immigrants from getting US citizenship Trump approval drops to 2019 low after Mueller report's release: poll MORE won the district by 18 points in 2016, Democrats in the state had hoped Parnell could be competitive in the district thanks to his special election showing, when he ran a race cheered on by national Democrats and finished just 3 points behind Norman. 

But at this point, it's unclear whether he will remain an active candidate — and it's already too late to take him off of the ballot. 

Under state law, if Parnell withdraws before the election, his votes will not be counted, and if he wins the primary, the second-highest finisher would claim victory. But if he is elected as the party's nominee on June 12 and then resigns, the party will not be able to replace him.