Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Skeletons Rattling in Bundgaard's Closet

Posted By on Tue, Mar 8, 2011 at 12:11 PM

As Republican Senate Majority Leader Scott Bundgaard struggles to hold onto his leadership position, The Arizona Republic digs into his disastrous marriage:

Embattled Senate Majority Leader Scott Bundgaard, who faces calls to step down because of an altercation with his ex-girlfriend, had a brief and tumultuous marriage five years ago to a woman who left him during their honeymoon after seeking police assistance.

Bundgaard and Anne Harwell, an artist and granddaughter of late Detroit Tigers Hall of Fame broadcaster Ernie Harwell, were honeymooning in Kona, Hawaii, when she called police on April 8, 2006, saying she needed help.

Harwell, in a police report, told a dispatcher that she was afraid of her male companion and that she wanted police to escort her to the couple's vacation rental so she could retrieve her personal items, Hawaii police Lt. Randy Ishii told The Arizona Republic.

After retrieving her belongings, Harwell left Bundgaard and returned to Georgia, where she lived at the time. Five days later, she filed to have the marriage annulled in Maricopa County Superior Court, records show.

Meanwhile, Senate Democrats are calling on Bundgaard to resign his seat in the wake of a fight with his now-ex-girlfriend on the side of a Phoenix freeway last month.

“Sen. Bundgaard is still in denial that he did anything wrong, even though we have police reports,” Sen. Paula Aboud of Tucson tells The Range. “At the very minimum, he needs to step down from leadership.”

Aboud points out that former state Rep. Mark DeSimone stepped down from his legislative seat after he was arrested by police who responded to a domestic-violence call to his home, even though DeSimone denied the charges.

Bundgaard issued a statement saying he'd "clear my name as this issue works through the process, and as more information comes out."

But it's not just Democrats coming after Bundgaard. Republican Sen. Ron Gould told the Arizona Guardian that if his daughter had been with Bundgaard that night, he would have dealt with him in an “old-school” fashion.

Espresso Pundit declares that Bundgaard's political career is over:

Senators Gould and Crandall have called for Bundgaard to step down as Majority Leader. That means it's over. Scott can try to hang on, but a Majority Leader has no institutional power. He serves at the pleasure of the caucus and if they no longer have confidence in him then he has to step down. Scott will figure that out later this week. He would be smart to exit with some grace and not force the caucus to vote him out.

Bundgaard supporters are claiming that Gould sees Bundgaard as a political competitor for a possible run at Trent Franks' seat. That's ridiculous. While Bundgaard my be able to complete his term and it's possible—but unlikely—that he could get re-elected*, there's not a snowball's chance that he's a viable Congressional candidate.

Footnote: If Bundgaard runs for re-election, Harper will take him out. They despise each other and the only reason Harper left the Senate was that he was term limited. Absent the term limit issue, Harper probably would have defeated Bundgaard in a head-to-head match up in 2010. But I can't imagine Bundgaard beating Harper now.

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