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While Making Opponents' Marital Affairs A Campaign Issue, John Cox Stays Mum On His Own (LAist.com link): Throughout his campaign for governor, Republican John Cox and his allies have criticized his Democratic opponents for affairs they had while in office, condemning their behavior as potentially attracting harmful exposure. He's said voters should "judge someone based upon what they've done in the past." But Cox has also faced accusations of marital infidelity, KQED and KPCC/LAist have learned.
Details of an affair are alleged by Mr. Cox's first wife in the court records of their divorce, which was filed in Illinois in 1997. KPCC/LAist and KQED obtained and reviewed more than 400 pages of documents from that case.
Mr. Cox's first wife, Nancy Cox, stated in a court filing that she discovered a home that she claimed he purchased to support another woman and her family while the two were still married. Ms. Cox wrote in that filing that the children told her about the other home in Longmeadow, Mass. and that they'd met his girlfriend when they went to visit. The girlfriend is not identified in court records, and it's unclear when their relationship first began.
"I'm not interested in gutter politics," Mr. Cox said when asked about the alleged affair. "I was separated from my wife. That's all been resolved." Ms. Cox did not return several requests for comment. In court documents, Mr. Cox denied that the house was purchased to further an affair, stating it was purchased almost a year after the divorce was filed.
The details of Mr. Cox's alleged affair stand in contrast to the attacks he and allies mounted along the campaign trail. In an interview with KQED in September, Cox took aim at Newsom's past marital conduct. "If you conduct yourself in a way that exposes you to extortion or to blackmail...that's really hurting the people you're representing," Cox said.
Newsom admitted in 2007 to an affair with his appointments secretary, who also was married to his campaign manager. At the time, Newsom was separated from his first wife. "I had to own it," Newsom told KQED earlier this month. "I had to take responsibility. I had to be transparent."
Caroline Heldman, a politics professor at Occidental College, said most voters will forgive personal marital problems. But undecided voters could be turned off by the apparent hypocrisy of the Cox campaign.
"John Cox made this an issue," Heldman said. "It was foolhardy to go after his competitors' infidelities when he has this in the closet. It doesn't seem prudent."