Applegate's Contentious Divorce Brought Up In Campaign For Congressional Seat
Democratic congressional candidate Doug Applegate called his opponent Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Vista, "desperate" after reports about Applegate's contentious divorce in Orange County surfaced Tuesday.
According toa report from the political news website Politico, Applegate's ex-wife, Priscilla, sought and received a restraining order against her ex-spouse alleging he was stalking and harassing her.
Issa spokesman Jonathan Wilcox told Politico that the "disturbing information in these public records raise serious questions that Doug Applegate hasn't come close to answering about his personal temperament, treatment of women and fitness for office."
The Applegates started divorce proceedings in 2000, the same year Applegate, a retired Marine Corps colonel, was placed on five years of informal probation stemming from a DUI.
Misdemeanor charges of drunken and reckless driving were ultimately dismissed, according to court records.
Applegate's ex-wife, who has since remarried and goes by Priscilla Greco, issued the following statement:
"I'm disappointed that someone is making disrespectful and uninformed personal attacks against our family. Doug and I are parents first, and we raised two amazing children together. I support his run for Congress and I will be voting for him in November."
Applegate said, "This is a desperate and politically motivated attack from Congressman Darrell Issa on my family. I love my family and couldn't be more proud of the children I've raised with Priscilla. This kind of dirty personal attack is exactly what's wrong with politics and voters deserve better.
"As someone who has worked with victims of domestic violence, I'm appalled that Congressman Issa would sink so low, but unfortunately I'm not surprised."
The couple's son and daughter also made a video to "set the record straight." Loren and Renee Applegate said their father "is a good man and a great dad who has always been there for us, and will always be there for you."
The Republican Party of Orange County called on the Orange County Democratic Party to withdraw its endorsement of Applegate Tuesday.
"It is really unconscionable that Democrats from the national level down to the local level would continue to support a candidate whose treatment of women is at best questionable and at worst possibly criminal," Republican Party of Orange County Chairman Fred Whitaker said.
"The fact that a judge granted Douglas Applegate's ex-wife two restraining orders against him as well as another order forcing him to surrender two firearms related to the allegations is a clear warning that Mr. Applegate is unfit for elected office."
Representatives of the Orange County Democratic Party did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The 49th Congressional District includes Carlsbad, Encinitas, Vista, Oceanside, Del Mar, Camp Pendleton, Solana Beach and Rancho Santa Fe in San Diego County and San Clemente, Dana Point, San Juan Capistrano and Ladrea Ranch in Orange County.