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Former Republican governor candidate facing charges for assault, strangulation, and terroristic threats

Former Republican governor candidate facing charges for assault, strangulation, and terroristic threats

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A Kentucky state legislator who ran for the Republican gubernatorial nomination and garnered 40% of the vote was arrested and charged in a domestic violence incident early this morning, according to The Lexington Herald-Leader.

State Representative Robert Goforth is alleged by the Laurel County Sheriff’s Office to have assaulted and strangled an unnamed female victim in addition to making terroristic threats against her in a dispute over the woman’s refusal to unlock her mobile phone for him.

The arrest was made after the woman reported the assault in the early morning hours by showing up in person at the 911 dispatch office in East Bernstadt, Kentucky. She reportedly “had visible marks on her forehead, neck, and arms, as well as bruising on her leg,” according to the police report.

The Lexington Herald-Leader wrote:

“The victim told police that she tried to flee from Goforth, and that he made several attempts to “hog tie her,” according to the citation. He also allegedly strangled her with an ethernet cable to the point where she said she thought she was going to pass out, according to the citation.”

“She also told police that Goforth said he was going to kill her during the altercation, according to the arrest citation.”

The woman told police that she was only able to escape from Representative Goforth after promising to unlock her phone.

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Once the police arrived at the scene to arrest the Republican legislator, they decided that he did not “appear to be under the influence of drugs or alcohol” and discovered that the three children who were in the home at the time of the alleged assault were safe and appeared to be in no danger.

Once news of the arrest became public, Kentucky Democrats made calls for Goforth’s immediate resignation.

“State Representative Goforth must resign immediately,” Kentucky Democratic spokeswoman Marisa McNee declared in a statement. “This is not the first time a victim of Mr. Goforth’s violent assaults has come forward. Republican Leadership has ignored this for far too long, it is time for them to take action. Goforth needs to go.”

McNee was referring to sexual assault allegations that surfaced during Goforth’s run for the GOP nomination for the Kentucky governorship last year — a race which he lost to then-incumbent Governor Matt Bevin, who was subsequently beaten by his Democratic challenger Andy Beshear.

The Republican Speaker of the Kentucky House of Representatives, David Osborne, refused to comment on the specifics of the case but condemned domestic violence in general.

“Like everyone else, we have just been made aware of these charges and do not know the facts related to this case,” a statement released by Osbourne said. “While we reserve comment on this specific situation, the House Majority Caucus unequivocally denounces any form of domestic violence and has zero tolerance for it or its perpetrators.”

“A society that values human life must also condemn domestic abuse,” the GOP speaker said. “We each have a moral obligation to not only speak out against domestic violence, but also to recognize that domestic abuse knows no boundaries. Its victims and perpetrators come from every income, race, or socioeconomic status.”

Goforth is the second Kentucky Republican legislator to make the headlines for his arrest this week. Just last Thursday Representative Derek Lewis was arrested on a DUI charge.

Follow Vinnie Longobardo on Twitter.

Original reporting by Jeremy Chisenhall and Bill Estep at The Lexington Herald-Leader.

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