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Pete Domenici, the former Senator from New Mexico, admitted Tuesday that he had a secret son out of wedlock 30 years ago and it turns out that the mother is the daughter of another senator.
Domenici sent a statement to The Albuquerque Journal, admitting that Nevada lawyer Adam Paul Laxalt is his son and that Michelle Laxalt of Alexandria, Virginia, is the mother. Laxalt is the daughter of former Nevada Senator Paul Laxalt, who also served as his state’s governor.
“More than 30 years ago, I fathered a child outside of my marriage,” Domenici, 80, wrote in the statement. “The mother of that child made me pledge that we would never reveal that parenthood, and I have tried to honor that pledge and so has she.”
Domenici and Laxalt, in her own statement, told the Journal that they believed that this was going to be leaked to the press, which is why they decided to go public now.
“My past action has caused hurt and disappointment to my wife, children, family and others,” he wrote. “For that I am solely responsible.” He added that his family has known about his secret son for “several months.”
“I have apologized as best as I can to my wife, and we have worked together to strengthen our relationship. I deeply regret this and am very sorry for my behavior,” he wrote. “I hope New Mexicans will view that my accomplishments for my beloved state outweigh my personal transgression.”
He wishes that Laxalt’s privacy be respected, noting that only he “should bear the brunt of this matter.”
According to The Washington Post, Domenici, a Republican, served as Senator for six terms before retiring in 2008. At the time, he cited a degenerative brain disease. Laxalt’s father, who is now 90, served in the Senate from 1974 to 1987.
Domenici is the second politician to recently admit to fathering a secret child. Just last week, Tennessee Rep. Steve Cohen, who has never married, had to admit to being the father of Victoria Brink, a 24-year-old woman he was caught sending Twitter messages to during the State of the Union.