A U.S. House candidate currently serving in Wyoming’s state Senate told a local newspaper that he impregnated a 14-year-old girl when he was 18 and living in Florida.
Anthony Bouchard said he was trying to get out in front of a story about the relationship, which led to a brief marriage when she was 15 and he was 19. He told the Casper Star-Tribune it took place around 40 years ago.
Bouchard is running to unseat Rep. Liz Cheney, Wyoming’s at-large representative in the House who has put herself at odds with the Republican Party by criticizing former President Donald Trump over his role in the Capitol riot on Jan. 6. Cheney was booted from party leadership earlier this month.
“Bottom line, it’s a story when I was young, two teenagers, you’ve heard those stories before. She was a little younger than me, so it’s like the Romeo and Juliet story,” Bouchard said in a Facebook Live video Thursday.
He said there was “a lot of pressure” for the girl to get an abortion, but she gave birth to a son.
“Why is this a big deal?” Bouchard asks at one point in the Facebook video.
Her mother gave permission to a judge so that the teens could wed. They divorced three years later. She died by suicide at age 20, he told the paper, explaining in the Facebook video that her policeman father had previously killed himself, and the two were buried next to each other.
She is not identified by name in either account.
Bouchard explained that his relationship with his son is complicated.
“Some of the things that he’s got going on in his life, I certainly don’t approve of them, but I’m not going to abandon him. I still love him. Just like when he was born,” Bouchard said before leaving the frame emotionally.
He accused unnamed political operatives of digging up dirt on him to help “people like Liz Cheney win.”
“This is really a message about how dirty politics is,” he said. “They’ll stop at nothing, man, when you get in the lead, when you get in the lead and when you’re somebody that can’t be controlled, you’re somebody who works for the people. They’ll come after you. That’s why good people don’t run for office.”
Bouchard was elected to the Wyoming state Senate in 2016. Cheney will be up for reelection in 2022, and already faces stiff competition from at least nine Republican challengers.
She told reporters that she welcomed the competition, according to The Associated Press.