News Of GOP Idaho Congressman's Divorce While Campaigning Just Coming To Light

Jan 16, 2019

Idaho's newest Republican congressman, Russ Fulcher, was left by his wife while on the campaign trail over the summer.
Credit Scott Graf / Boise State Public Radio

Idaho’s newest member of Congress, Russ Fulcher, got divorced from his wife of more than 30 years during his campaign for an open seat in the House of Representatives.

The former Republican state senator beat out a wide field of contenders vying to be the GOP’s nominee for the open House seat last May. Fulcher then went on to run a successful campaign against Democratic challenger Cristina McNeil.

Throughout the race, news of Fulcher’s divorce in September from his wife of 31 years, Kara Fulcher, didn’t come out.

"It is interesting,” says Jaclyn Kettler, a political science professor at Boise State. “You know, opposition research is a really big production now for campaigns. The question there is, was this done? Did his opponent know about it? Did the Democratic Party know about it? If they did, did they select that this wasn’t a relevant point?”

Kettler highlights that norms have shifted over time and divorce is now common. She also says studies on scandals point to diminishing shock at personal issues.

“There’s some newer research on political scandals,” Kettler says. “They find that voters tend to get more upset about scandals that involve misuse of government funds or malfeasance than this this type of family scandal.”

The Idaho Press reports Kara Fulcher cited “acts of adultery” as part of her reasons for seeking the separation. She and her ex-husband agreed not to talk about the proceedings and resolved matters amicably.

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