Taking "pro-family" one family too far

A Republican candidate in California loves families so much that he had two of them at once.

Published June 2, 2006 6:33PM (EDT)

Is it possible to be too "pro-family" in a Republican congressional primary? Jim Galley is about to find out. As the San Diego Union-Tribune reports today, the self-proclaimed "pro-traditional family" candidate for the Republican nomination in California's 51st Congressional District apparently likes families so much that he once had two of them.

According to court records, the Union-Tribune says, Galley "married his second wife, Beth, in 1982 when, unbeknownst to her, he was still married to his first wife, Terry." Galley says it was an innocent mistake -- that he thought a divorce from his first wife had become final by the time he married his second wife. The default on child support payments? It was just a short-term deal, Galley says. And allegations that he abused his first wife? Just an excuse to get him out of the house.

Galley probably never had much of a chance of making it to Congress anyway -- as the Union-Tribune notes, the double-marriage problem is only one of the résumé discrepancies he has to explain away, and he's running for the Republican nomination in a district where Democrats enjoy a 17-point edge in voter registration. What may be more interesting, then, is any ripple effect the revelations about Galley might have on those who have endorsed him. Among them: Republican Brian Bilbray, who's locked in a neck-and-neck fight with Democrat Francine Busby for Randy "Duke" Cunningham's old seat in Congress.

By Tim Grieve

Tim Grieve is a senior writer and the author of Salon's War Room blog.

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