The ex-wife of Democratic candidate Doug Applegate defended him as accusations of domestic violence resurfaced in the race for California’s 49th District.
Applegate narrowly lost to Issa in 2016 by 1,621 votes and immediately announced he would run again in 2018.
In the months leading up to the election in 2016, Politico reported Applegate was accused of stalking and harassing his ex-wife and had two temporary restraining orders issued against him.
The accusations have dogged Applegate since then, and he has raised less money than some of the other Democrats in the race. Some of the same organizations that endorsed him in 2016 have now endorsed his Democratic opponent Mike Levin.
Applegate’s campaign released a statement from his ex-wife, Priscilla Greco, defending him and supporting his candidacy.
“I’m disappointed that uninformed people are yet again making disrespectful and personal attacks against our family,” she said. “We went through a difficult divorce as many people have, but to take things out of context and make Doug out to be an abuser is absurd. Doug and I are parents first, and we raised two amazing children together.”
In an interview earlier this month, Neil Sroka, a spokesman for Democracy for America, said the allegations were part of the reason why the group endorsed Levin despite endorsing Applegate in 2016.
“I think the MeToo movement has changed political reality. Those kind of accusations, especially when they were documented the way they were, are particularly concerning,” Sroka said.
Among the other Democrats in the race are Navy veteran and businessman Paul Kerr, former State Department contract worker Sara Jacobs and Air Force veteran Christina Prejean. The glut of candidates in the district concerns some Democrats who are worried it could lead to a split vote in the primary.
California’s jungle primary system means that the two candidates who receive the most votes move on to the general election regardless of party.
Watch: The #MeToo Impact on 2018