Well, it was bound to happen sooner or later anyway, so let’s just get it the hell out of the way.
For weeks now, every time I would post anything mentioning the name “Curtis Coleman,” a Republican businessman who’s formed an exploratory committee to possibly challenge Democratic Sen. Blanche Lincoln in 2010, I’d start getting comments and e-mails about Coleman’s “personal problems.”
It seems that, about 16 years ago, Coleman divorced his first wife and remarried. This probably wouldn’t be a big deal for most people, as it’s kinda common these days, but at the time Coleman was a Baptist minister. (I have no idea what the precise circumstances may have been or the timeline, and frankly, have no interest.)
And let me tell you, his former parishioners know how to carry a grudge. As I said, I’ve gotten e-mails and blog comments about it, and I know of at least one local journalist who received an anonymous package containing Coleman’s divorce records. I’m sure he’s not the only one.
Earlier today, Coleman was on KARN with guest host David Sanders, and while taking calls from listeners, a caller asked Coleman about his divorce from his first wife. (To my ears, the caller’s tone suggested a sense of personal betrayal, but that might have been a subjective hearing.)
Coleman dispatched the question pretty handily, I thought, or as handily as one could, talking about how difficult the divorce was for his entire family. Jason Tolbert at The Tolbert Report, who rather luridly frames Coleman’s divorce as a “Tim Hutchinson problem,” recounts much of Coleman’s response in a post this afternoon.
But Tolbert omits the most important point from Coleman’s answer.(My error — originally read Jason’s post on Blackberry and missed it). Coleman said that when he decided to make this run, one of the first people he went to talk to was his first wife, to ask her what she thought. (Clearly, Coleman is smart enough to know that this issue was going to emerge sooner rather than later.) He says that she told him, “I think you’ll make a great U.S. Senator…I will support you and I will vote for you.” (roughly quoted)
I don’t know Curtis Coleman. In fact, I’m not sure I’d ever heard of him till a few weeks ago when his name was floated as a potential candidate. I’d not even intended to address this issue, as it strikes me as a private family matter, but now that he’s laid it out there on the radio and it’s in the public sphere, let’s just say this: If Coleman and his family have processed the fact of his divorce, and his ex-wife is past it to the point where she says she’ll support him, then it may be well past time for his former parishioners to just let it the hell go.