Archie Parnell won the Democratic nomination in the race to represent South Carolina’s 5th Congressional District on Tuesday night even after admitting to beating his wife in the 1970s.
Parnell won a full 60 percent of the vote, according to the Post and Courier, a local newspaper.
His campaign staffers made the shocking revelation about his past in late May.
Divorce records showed that Parnell, then a college student in his early 20s, smashed a glass door with a tire iron to enter an apartment where his then-wife, Kathleen Parnell, was staying. He then hit her multiple times.
Calls for him to drop out of the race promptly rolled in. South Carolina Democratic Party Chairman Trav Robertson released a statement saying Archie Parnell’s actions “directly contradict” the party’s values. Campaign staffers abandoned ship, and some people asked that their donations be returned, but Parnell — once regarded as a rising Democratic star in the state — refused to quit.
He defeated three lesser-known candidates in Tuesday’s Democratic primary.
In a statement issued to the Post and Courier, Parnell admitted to the abuse, calling it “something that I have regretted every single day since.”
Parnell and his current wife, Sarah Parnell, recently celebrated their 40th wedding anniversary. They have two daughters together.
Although he apologized to voters in a video released last week, Archie Parnell concluded that dropping out would send the wrong message.
“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,” he said.
He continued, “I am not that same person.”
The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee’s communications director, Meredith Kelly, told CNN this week that the party would refuse to back Parnell if he won the primary, leaving his odds of victory in the general election slim.