NEWT GINGRICH: There’s no question at times of my life, partially driven by how passionately I felt about this country, that I worked far too hard and that things happened in my life that were not appropriate.
Wisconsin state Sen. Randy Hopper, R-Fond du Lac — the most vulnerable of the senators facing a recall because of their support for Gov. Scott Walker’s union-busting bill — may need to try that excuse himself now that his constituents have discovered that a) he is having an affair with with a much-younger lobbyist and b) he has left his wife and two children and is living with his girlfriend in the state capital. It appears he has been living outside his district since he filed for divorce last August, if not before.
The way voters in Hopper’s district found out about his new living arrangements is almost as comical as Gingrich’s suggesting that excessive patriotism drove him to have extramarital affairs. First, on Friday, Hopper issued a statement saying he would not be attending the St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Fond du Lac on Saturday, citing a purported death threat:
“I had looked forward to walking the parade route and sharing this celebration with my family, friends, neighbors, and constituents, but I, in no way, want to put the citizens of Fond du Lac in harm’s way.”
But then this happened:
Protesters went to his home in Fond du Lac. They did not find Hopper there. Instead they found his wife, who Hopper filed papers to divorce in August 2010. Hopper’s estranged wife, Alysia, told the protesters to look for him in Madison where he is living with his 25-year-old mistress and former lobbyist Valerie Cass.
Randy Hopper is 45 years old. The Hoppers’ maid signed the recall petition, and there are reports that Alysia Hopper planned to sign the petition, and may have done so already.
Given the strained relations with his family, it’s odd that he would mention them in his statement — and facts that have come to light about his living arrangements certainly make the death threat suspicious.
For one thing, it appears to come right out of the GOP-Fox News propaganda narrative that the pro-middle class protesters in Wisconsin are violent — an assertion not supported by reports in the legitimate media. Plus, the ironclad cover it gave him for skipping the parade appears to be just a little too convenient.
It was also classic Republican overreach — a lie too far — that suggests Hopper seemed to believe he could keep his affair secret indefinitely.
Democrats need to topple just three of the eight senators who are the subjects of recalls in order to regain a majority in the Senate. Hopper is considered the most vulnerable of the eight because, in 2008, he won by an extremely narrow margin of just 163 votes — 41,904 to 41,741.