Sex scandal brings down another self-righteous Republican

Another holier-than-thou right-wing Republican who preaches morality and family values is caught up in a sex scandal, admitting a five-year affair with a much-younger woman and settling, out of court, a lawsuit because he physically abused her.

Now Democrats see the moral lapses of Rep. Don Sherwood as a chance to pick up what once was a solid Republican seat in the House.

Sherwood admitted banging a woman 35 years younger than him and then additionally had to pay the court settlement because he banged her around physically when they weren’t in bed.


The Associated Press
reports:

Sex could be the undoing of a family values Republican.

Four-term Rep. Don Sherwood recently had one of the safest seats in Congress as his conservatism played well in his heavily GOP, rural district in northeastern Pennsylvania. Democrats didn’t even bother fielding a candidate in the last two elections.

Then last year Sherwood admitted to a five-year extramarital affair with a woman 35 years his junior. He settled a lawsuit claiming he had choked her.

Constituents were stunned. Many turned angry. And some may be turning to his Democratic opponent.

Sherwood won the GOP primary with only 56 percent of the vote even though he faced a political novice who spent less than $5,000 on her campaign.

"I made a mistake that hurt my family and has disappointed some of my constituents," Sherwood said in an interview. "Their disappointment is understandable and I’ve apologized, and I’m working hard to win them back."

That could be a tall order. Frances Pohonche, 81, a retired bridal dressmaker from Center Moreland, said she always voted for Sherwood but won’t again. "I just don’t like the man," she said. "He cheated on his wife."

Sherwood, 65, has owned a successful Chevrolet dealership since 1967 and spent 22 years on the school board before running for Congress in 1998.

He won two tough races against Patrick Casey, son of late Democratic Gov. Robert Casey, before his district was reconfigured after the 2000 Census to make it safer for Republicans. Now Republican voters outnumber Democrats by 55,000; lacking a Democratic challenger in 2004, he collected 93 percent of the vote.

The first sign of trouble for Sherwood came in May 2005, when media outlets began reporting that police had investigated an alleged altercation between Sherwood and his mistress, Cynthia Ore, in September 2004. Although criminal charges were never filed, Ore filed a lawsuit against Sherwood, claiming he had choked her while giving her a back rub at his Capitol Hill apartment.

Sherwood denied abusing Ore, but he admitted to an affair with her, apologizing for the "pain and embarrassment" he caused his family and supporters. The married father of three reached a confidential settlement with Ore last November, hoping to put the affair behind him.

His Democratic opponent, former Pentagon intelligence analyst Chris Carney, alludes to Sherwood’s personal conduct in a television ad.

"Don Sherwood is not representing the values of this district," Carney, a political science professor at Penn State’s Worthington Scranton campus, says in the commercial. "Mr. Sherwood went to Washington and he didn’t remember the values he took with him. … Send me to Congress and I’ll make you proud."

In another spot, Carney says, "What we have in Washington are people who don’t accept responsibility for their actions."

There are ways to make Sherwood’s personal problems a campaign issue without hammering voters with it, said Thomas Baldino, a political science professor at Wilkes University in Wilkes-Barre.

"People don’t want to be bludgeoned with that information. They know he had an affair," Baldino said. Carney, he said, also must find an issue that will "differentiate him from Sherwood in a way that will pull Republicans away."

Though many voters say Sherwood has betrayed their trust, others are more forgiving if not pragmatic. They prefer to focus on his ability to bring federal dollars to the district as a member of the House Appropriations Committee.

"What they do in their personal lives is their business. I don’t want to know," said Lois Van Horn, a Sherwood supporter and the owner of the 162-year-old Prince Hotel in Tunkhannock, Sherwood’s hometown.

Underscoring the competitiveness of the race, national Republicans and Democrats are spending money on the contest.

Sherwood, who underwent preventive heart surgery last month, said voters might flirt with Carney, an anti-abortion Democrat, but will ultimately decide to go with his experience and conservative brand of politics.

"I think the voters will find there’s a big difference in philosophy between Chris Carney and Don Sherwood, and I think they will understand that Mr. Carney is far more liberal than they are or believe we should be," Sherwood said.

Carney, a 47-year-old married father of five, said Sherwood is ripe for defeat, given voters’ pessimism about the direction of the nation and President Bush’s sagging poll numbers.

"It’s a perfect storm of issues," he said, "not just Sherwood’s personal issues."


11 Responses to "Sex scandal brings down another self-righteous Republican"

  1. Jhoffa_  September 29, 2006 at 7:11 am
      ..too bad the Republicans didn’t think that “What they do in their private lives” didn’t cover President Clinton. He was a great President and didn’t do ANYTHING to hurt the country..

    No, no, no..

    Dubya’s a worthless pos, but that doesn’t absolve Clinton of his crimes.

    The greatest of Clinton’s crimes was the technology transfer to China which now allows them to hit us with a missle. Thanks Bill.

    Additionally, he wasn’t impeached for sex… but he should have been

    I know some people want to stamp their feet and whine that what happens in a politicians private life doesn’t matter, that’s incorrect.

    Vices like adultery, closeted homosexuality, drug use, gambling, etc, etc, could EASILY be manipulated and used for blackmail.

    You want to see someone or some group get their hooks in an elected official? It would be only too easy under conditions like Clinton’s.

    Simply put, morality matters.. and it matters allot.

  2. Jhoffa_  September 29, 2006 at 7:14 am

    Oh my!

    I apologize for the triple post.. It got “stuck” and I hit the button repeatedly.

    Apologies!

  3. Dolores  September 28, 2006 at 4:47 pm

    Well Lois Van Horn, too bad the Republicans didn’t think that “What they do in their private lives” didn’t cover President Clinton. He was a great President and didn’t do ANYTHING to hurt the country but still he was impeached for lying about sex, now we have a president that lies about everything, has gotten almost 3000 Americans killed and no telling how many Iraquis. I for one thnk that that impeachment should be reversed.

  4. Kerry  September 28, 2006 at 5:10 pm

    Hmmmm, interesting about those Republicans, just interesting….

  5. Joe Lawrence  September 28, 2006 at 5:40 pm

    Lois Van Horn is merely one more of the “Christian Family Values” voters who would hold her hypocritical nose and vote for Idi Amin if he were running on the Rethuglican ticket. Like Fox & Falwell, frauds abound.

  6. Donna Erickson  September 28, 2006 at 7:30 pm

    Accepting responsible is not just consigned to Washington politicans but is epidemic to all strata of society.
    It seems the more self-righteous the person the more prone to pious contempt the person has for their fellow man.
    A fresh wind is blowing over the land when folks in power are revealed for what they really are.

  7. Anne Welsh  September 28, 2006 at 7:42 pm

    I think Dolores’ comment re: the distinction between the two presidents should be made into a bumper sticker.

  8. keith  September 29, 2006 at 12:56 am

    Donna, you are so right! A day or so ago, Doug ran a commentary about Governor Allen’s most recent verbal faux paux and the seeming outright stupidity of politicians. It appears we have yet another example to add to that (growing) list.

    My own personal observations have shown that most of these people seem to also posses overwhelming egos…with a pinch of arrogance mixed in with a whole boatload of “I’m better than you”. Somehow, they’ve managed to convince themselves that their various human failings won’t be found out. We saw it with President Clinton and Monica. And as others here have noted, we’ve also seen it in the failings of various religious leaders. And, I now see it in the smirk and animated comments of our esteemed President (particularly when some reporter corners him with the truth). What’s more (and as others here have also already noted) the affliction doesn’t seem to be confined to Republicans.

    It appears many of these people have fallen victim to their own arrogant hype. What’s more, because their egos are also as broad as a barn, they now are convinced that they, alone, are the only ones now gifted (or should I say “Godly”?) enough to run our lives for us.

  9. Terrynet  September 29, 2006 at 4:17 am

    More of the same old stench eminating from the GOP. Sadly, the only decent people in the republican party, like Snowe, Chaffee, and Collins are called RINOs by their own colleagues. That leads me to the conclusion that there is no such thing as a good republican. Linc, Olympia, and Susan should follow Jim Jeffords lead and abandon these idiots.

  10. Jhoffa_  September 29, 2006 at 7:10 am
      ..too bad the Republicans didn’t think that “What they do in their private lives” didn’t cover President Clinton. He was a great President and didn’t do ANYTHING to hurt the country..

    No, no, no..

    Dubya’s a worthless pos, but that doesn’t absolve Clinton of his crimes.

    The greatest of Clinton’s crimes was the technology transfer to China which now allows them to hit us with a missle. Thanks Bill.

    Additionally, he wasn’t impeached for sex… but he should have been

    I know some people want to stamp their feet and whine that what happens in a politicians private life doesn’t matter, that’s incorrect.

    Vices like adultery, closeted homosexuality, drug use, gambling, etc, etc, could EASILY be manipulated and used for blackmail.

    You want to see someone or some group get their hooks in an elected official? It would be only too easy under conditions like Clinton’s.

    Simply put, morality matters.. and it matters allot.

  11. Jhoffa_  September 29, 2006 at 7:11 am
      ..too bad the Republicans didn’t think that “What they do in their private lives” didn’t cover President Clinton. He was a great President and didn’t do ANYTHING to hurt the country..

    No, no, no..

    Dubya’s a worthless pos, but that doesn’t absolve Clinton of his crimes.

    The greatest of Clinton’s crimes was the technology transfer to China which now allows them to hit us with a missle. Thanks Bill.

    Additionally, he wasn’t impeached for sex… but he should have been

    I know some people want to stamp their feet and whine that what happens in a politicians private life doesn’t matter, that’s incorrect.

    Vices like adultery, closeted homosexuality, drug use, gambling, etc, etc, could EASILY be manipulated and used for blackmail.

    You want to see someone or some group get their hooks in an elected official? It would be only too easy under conditions like Clinton’s.

    Simply put, morality matters.. and it matters allot.

Comments are closed.