Like most candidates, Doug Richards has a section on his campaign website devoted to personal information. But if you go to that section — just click on “Meet Doug” — you’ll notice it gets a lot more personal than most campaign bios.
Scroll past today’s defense of the Republican 26th Legislative District House candidate’s military record against claims he’s inflating it, and you’ll find a letter from Doug’s wife, Whitney Richards, with some information about his past:
First, 21 years ago at the age of 20, he was charged for a misdemeanor 4th degree assault for domestic violence while we were married. After reviewing the facts of the case, the Judge dismissed the charge and had the cause removed.
It’s not clear in the letter, but Richards said in an interview he pleaded guilty to the charge.
The judge agreed to a deferred disposition that would wipe his conviction from most records as long as Richards didn’t commit another crime. Richards wouldn’t explain the circumstances behind the charge, saying it would “reopen old wounds.”
Richards and his wife divorced around the same time, but he said that didn’t have anything to do with the domestic violence case. They later remarried. Whitney Richards says in her letter:
I am proud to say that we have been happily married for over 20 years raising our four children. He has been nothing but a kind, loving husband whom I am extremely proud of. The record of the charge remains public and has been known to most who know us, including his employer, South Kitsap Fire Rescue, which requires background checks every four years for his state emergency medical technician license renewal.
She goes on to talk about a house Richards built and owns that is now facing foreclosure.
Richards is getting out in front of something that probably would have come out anyway. An e-mailer provided me today with details about Richards’s conviction, saying she had also given the information to his opponent, Democratic Rep. Larry Seaquist.
Richards said he put out the information to promote transparency in campaigning and because he expected attacks. “We’re all human, and we all have errors in our past,” he said. “I realized they’re going to find anything they can to discredit you.”