COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - In a Facebook message posted Thursday, congressional candidate Archie Parnell apologized for a 45-year-old domestic violence incident recently brought to light but says he will remain in the race despite calls to step down from within his own party.
The South Carolina Democratic Party called for Parnell to drop out of the race after documents were released detailing Parnell's 1973 divorce from his first wife, Kathleen Parnell. The documents speak of an Oct. 21, 1973 incident where, according to the documents, Archie forced himself into an apartment where Kathleen was staying.
He, the documents said, forced his way in by breaking a glass door with a tire iron and then repeatedly struck Kathleen "with such force as to cause her acute physical injury."
This is the first statement Parnell has made since the documents were released. In his video, he speaks about the need for him to stay in the race, how he's changed, his marriage with his current wife and their family, and was apologetic about the incident. When WIS attempted to reach out to Parnell when the documents first surfaced, he did not respond to requests for comment, even when state reporter Ashleigh Holland went to his home.
"I did something terribly wrong 45 years ago. I hit my ex-wife and another person in a state of rage. No excuse can justify what I did. I hurt her. It was wrong," Parnell said. "If I withdraw, I would not be fully facing my past. If I withdraw, I would be telling anyone who makes a terrible mistake that that one terrible mistake will define them for the rest of their lives."
Parnell also spoke on his political platform and what he'd want to get accomplished if he's elected to office.
In May, State Democratic Party leader Trav Robertson released a statement over the weekend pressing Parnell to quit.
"In light of this sad revelation, Archie Parnell has no choice but to withdraw from the race for the 5th Congressional District," Robertson said. "His actions, though long ago, directly contradict the values of the Democratic Party."
A number of South Carolina Democratic gubernatorial candidates also asked Parnell to drop out of the race in late May.
Parnell is running for a seat in South Carolina's Fifth District against Steve Lough, Mark Ali, and Sidney Moore in the primary on June 12. The winner will go against Rep. Ralph Norman, the incumbent in the November general election.