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ALBUQUERQUE (AP) — For nearly 40 years, Sen. Pete Domenici’s reputation was that of a well-respected — some might say staid — conservative Republican and honorable family man.
But the 80-year-old New Mexico political giant’s persona was shaken Wednesday with the revelation that he had an out-of-wedlock child in the 1970s and became embroiled in what might be described as an inside-the-Beltway soap opera.
While his wife Nancy was raising their eight children, Domenici had the affair and secret child with a woman about half his age — and who happened to be the daughter of one of his Senate colleagues. The woman raised the child on her own, became a prominent lobbyist, Republican activist and political commentator, and their 30-something son has since gone on to build an impressive Washington resume himself.
The saga shocked people in New Mexico who viewed Domenici as a man of honesty and integrity during his six terms and 36 years in the Senate that ended in 2008.
“I deeply regret this and am very sorry for my behavior,” Domenici said in his statement. “I hope New Mexicans will view that my accomplishments for my beloved state outweigh my personal transgression.”
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