Even More Colorado Republican “Family Values”

Don Bendell, GOP HD-47 nominee.

We wrote earlier this month about the ongoing highly public embarrassment of Republican Rep. Tim Leonard’s should-be-private divorce proceedings, which have deservedly risen onto the media’s radar twice now: once when he went to jail for contempt of court after refusing to follow court orders on his children’s education, and again more recently when he unsuccessfully tried to cut his own child support payments on the argument that his part-time job as a legislator was too rigorous to maintain his previous outside employment.

Safe to say that as a poster child for the Republican Party’s alleged “family values,” Leonard failed the test.

Well folks, in today’s Pueblo Chieftain, reporter Peter Roper tells us the story of the GOP’s nominee for HD-47, Don Bendell–and his story could very well have Republicans wishing he had not ousted the previous occupant of the seat, Judy Reyher, despite Reyher’s serial racist tirades on social media that made her radioactive to the Republican brand in her own right:

The three children from Don Bendell’s first marriage claim their father was a “deadbeat dad” for nearly 17 years before he began paying court-ordered child support payments — after they were adults.

Bendell, the Republican candidate in House District 47, confirmed that he didn’t start paying the $500-a-month, court-ordered support until early 1997, but said his ex-wife had refused some earlier efforts to pay her and had “brainwashed” his children against him.

Britt Bendell, 43 and a housing supply salesman in North Carolina, said he became angry when he saw news articles from Colorado that his father was running for office as a family-values Republican.

“He never did anything for us, his three children from his first marriage,” the son said Monday. “It took years before my mother was able to get any child support from him.”

To call this a bad story for a Colorado Republican legislative candidate, even one in a seat that has been held by a Republicans for several election cycles, is a humongous understatement. Whatever Bendell says about his ex-wife’s alleged “brainwashing” of his children, court-ordered child support is not negotiable based on whether the parents get along. That’s the point.

In both of these cases, we have legal matters that began as rightfully private affairs, but were aggravated into being newsworthy by two factors: their own actions in the cases, and the fact that these men are running for elected office. Leonard is entitled to reasonable expectations of privacy in his divorce case, but not when he goes to jail for contempt of court or directly invokes his status as a legislator to shirk his child support obligations. Likewise, nobody really cares that Don Bendell is divorced–but it does matter that he blew off court-ordered child support for 20 years.

It’s possible that post-Donald Trump, Republicans simply have no claim on “family values” anymore.

Even if that’s true, making it this painfully obvious seems like a mistake.

16 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. Pseudonymous says:

    Talk about family values.  Look at the deal this guy got: 0 down and no payments 'til adulthood.  That's real value for money, folks.

  2. unnamed says:

    He and Tim Leonard seem like the perfect poster boys for Republican "Family Values".  They talk about it and don't act on it.  Full of shit is what they are.

  3. allyncooper says:

    Depends on your definition  of "family values.' The Manson family had "family values" also.

  4. MichaelBowman says:

    This has to be a tough one for Moddy to swallow given he was all in on Rep. Reyher.

    How about an obligatory walk a mile in his shoes pronouncement, Mods?  For the greater good of the party? 

    • unnamed says:

      MAGAt-anus: These are Democrat talking points.  It's none of your business.  Walk a mile in the man's shoes before you judge him.  He has every right to be a deadbeat dad when his wife brainwashed his children against him.

      • Mike W. says:

        You're giving him far too much credit. I believe the line would be:

        Pols has nothing, its all just to hide the fact they know they'll lose the state house! #TallerCoffman2022

      • brittb72 says:

        Not Democratic talking points! He’s just a lousy father. You don’t have to brainwash someone that hasn’t seen their father in 39 years. He’s a deadbeat! He’s also on his fifth marriage! I think I would know cause I’m his son!

        • RepealAndReplace says:

          FIFTH marriage?

          Has he learned nothing from the leaders of his political party. The third time is usually the charm. Well, except for the unfortunate Rudy Giuliani.

          • JohnInDenver says:

            Like one of my friends who explained he liked families so much and wanted to understand them, so he personally created 3 of them.

            5 does show a special appreciation for the sanctity of marriage.

      • brittb72 says:

        I’ve earned the right to judge him cause I’m one of the so called brainwashed children. He’s on wife number five btw I haven’t seen my father in almost 40 years. Not cause I was brainwashed, but cause he made no effort to be part of our lives. This is the man you are defending!

      • Arvadonian1 says:

        I don't give a shit if (huge if, by the way) Mom did "brainwash" the kids.  He is not relieved of his parental responsibilities.  It takes pretty shitty parent to have to be told by a judge to step up to the plate, by the way.  

  5. Arvadonian1 says:

    There is a special place in hell for deadbeat parents.  The Colorado State Legislature is not it.

  6. JohnInDenver says:

    Having no children and no ex-wives, I'm not certain how I can "walk a mile" before judging.

    Oh wait … he violated a court-ordered settlement. So, perhaps the question to ask is "what court orders deserve to be honored?"

  7. Conserv. Head Banger says:

    A few months ago, George W. Bush said that family values don't end at the border. Did not faze Trump in the least and his evangelical followers applauded the separation of kids from their parents.

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