Just more trouble for Tom Gallagher
The candidate for Republican gubenatorial nomination admits to an affair and marijuana use 25-30 years ago.
A somber Tom Gallagher apologized Monday for his "poor choices" 28 years ago, including smoking marijuana and acting badly during his first marriage.
The decision to speak about those choices came after the Gallagher gubernatorial campaign was contacted by the Tampa Tribune for a story about the events leading to Gallagher's 1979 divorce.
Gallagher, Florida's chief financial officer and a GOP candidate for governor, was joined by his wife, Laura, during a 30-minute conference call with reporters. The campaign also provided court documents from the divorce ending Gallagher's first marriage.
In one of those 1979 documents, a legislative aide testifies that she "began to date" Gallagher, then a state representative, in June 1978. The woman said she was living in a condominium owned by Gallagher at the time. Gallagher's wife at the time, Anne Louise Gallagher, found out and filed for divorce.
Gallagher, now 62, remarried in 1998 and has a 7-year old son from that marriage.
In his bid to win the Republican primary, Gallagher has portrayed himself as a deeply religious, family man and social conservative. He faces Attorney General Charlie Crist in that Sept. 5 primary.
Gallagher acknowledged Monday that he was not always so family-oriented but says that changed with his marriage to Laura and the birth of their son.
Gallagher said his wife knew about his past before they married. "He's a good man. He's a good father," Laura Gallagher said Monday.
Gallagher said the most difficult part of talking publicly about the past was telling his son, Charlie.
"I told him that dad has done some things that are wrong," said Gallagher. He said he told Charlie that there were things he was "not very proud of and very sorry for doing them." Gallagher said Monday he used marijuana more than 25 years ago but did not sell the drug or use any other drug. In the court documents provided by Gallaher's campaign, the woman whom Gallager had an affair with declined to answer questions by his wife's lawyer about whether he ever used or sold marijuana.
Gallagher did not directly answer a question about how his affair might affect his campaign.
"The documents speak for themselves," Gallagher said. "I made mistakes that I regret in my first marriage. The divorce was a result of my actions, certainly not hers, and I take full responsibility for that marriage and I'm disappointed in myself that I hurt people that I cared about." The court divorce documents suggest the Gallaghers, who did not have children, were in the midst of an unpleasant divorce, which ended their 10 year marriage.
I am not a fan of Gallagher. See past blog posts here and here. His campaign is going badly and this certainly doesn't help.
These events happened well in the past. It isn't the affair that's bothersome but the trust that was broken by Gallagher with his first wife. If Gallagher used his office in any means for his affair, he broke trust with his constituents. Florida voters have to ask themselves if this man can be trusted as Governor.
Note - TFM is a registered Democrat. I don't get to vote in the GOP primary. With a strong lead in the polls, Charlie Crist is the probable nominee.
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