A Woman Scorned

In Texas, a New Twist On Partisan Politics

A tornado of media coverage has descended on the race for Texas’s 20th Congressional District, training its full might and fury on a divorced San Antonio marriage counselor with no staff, no experience in electoral politics and a campaign war chest of $150.

“I do everything myself,” said Becky Whetstone, who has declared her candidacy as an independent aiming to unseat Rep. Charlie Gonzalez, the Democratic incumbent who happens to be her ex-husband.

No matter that Whetstone, 45, a former advice columnist, does not have a chance of winning the race, according to political analysts here. What has ignited the firestorm of interest in her candidacy is a spectacle whose script, for all appearances, seems tailor-made for daytime television: an allegedly wronged woman bent on exposing her powerful husband and bringing him down — or at the very least humiliating him in public.

In a flurry of interviews and national television appearances, Whetstone has painted Gonzalez as a control freak who dislikes children and pets, a spendthrift who cannot manage his own financial affairs and a bully with an explosive temper.

She says she will divulge even more in a forthcoming book, tentatively titled “The Congressman’s Wife.” But she insists that revenge is the furthest thing from her mind.

Asked about a bumper sticker that urges voters, “Don’t Get Mad. Get Becky!” she disavows it as the unsolicited work of a supporter. “I don’t deny I’m angry about what happened,” said Whetstone, who regales visitors with details of what she calls Gonzalez’s abusive behavior during their marriage, and complains of a divorce settlement she considers miserably inadequate. “When something incredibly unfair and one-sided happens, anger is a healthy reaction. I’m taking the energy from the anger and standing up for something I believe is the right thing to do.”

Yep. No bitterness there.

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2004
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. Scott Harris says:

    This was reported in Dallas about two weeks ago, and when I saw the report it made me angry. Rep. Gonzales has no effective defense against what amounts to a slander campaign by his ex-wife. If she is unsatisfied with the results of the divorce settlement, that indicates that the courts did not see the facts the same way she did.

    Also, her dissatisfaction doesn’t give anyone any relevant facts about the justice or injustice of the settlement. Perhaps, she was cheated, but perhaps she was trying to cheat him, and was frustrated when the courts blocked her from doing so. We just don’t know.

    If Rep. Gonzales responds in kind, it will “validate” her accusations that he is controlling and abusive. If he tries to get a court order to stop her, 1) it will be seen as using his influence to take advantage of her once again, and 2) it will likely be unsuccessful because she is using the cover of a political campaign to launch her attacks. And his third option is to quietly take the abuse with minimal response while she gets to freely throw verbal punches without any restraint or fear of reprisal.

    This is truly a no-win situation for the Representative, and a vindictive and classless act on her part.

  2. Anonymous says:

    So an unqualified Ex is out to get revenge because her husband left her. I understand she didn’t work but stayed at home and left the house a mess.

  3. Anonymous says:

    …and if she IS telling the truth about him? Is this the type of person we want representing us?