FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — A Kentucky lawmaker who challenged the state’s governor in last year’s Republican primary was arrested Tuesday on strangulation and assault charges.
State Rep. Robert Goforth was arrested by the Laurel County sheriff’s office in his hometown of East Bernstadt, according to the Laurel County jail. He was booked into the jail shortly after 4 a.m.
The jail didn’t provide any details about what led to the arrest.
Goforth, 44, was arrested on charges of strangulation, fourth-degree assault and terroristic threatening, the jail said. He was being held on a $25,000 cash bond, according to the jail’s website. His initial court date was set for Wednesday.
No attorney was listed for him on the jail’s website.
On Tuesday morning, Marisa McNee, a spokeswoman for the Kentucky Democratic Party, issued a statement demanding Goforth's resignation.
"This is not the first time a victim of Mr. Goforth's violent assaults has come forward," she stated. "Republican Leadership has ignored this for far too long, it is time for them to take action. Goforth needs to go."
House Speaker David Osborne, a Republican, reserved comment on Goforth's specific case, citing a lack of knowledge about the facts. However, he also issued a statement.
"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," he said. "A society that values human life must also condemn domestic abuse. 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 was a relative newcomer to the legislature when he decided to challenge then-Gov. Matt Bevin in the state’s GOP primary. Goforth ran an aggressive campaign that garnered him nearly 40% of the vote against the incumbent. It showed Bevin’s political weakness despite the governor’s backing from President Donald Trump. Bevin never fully recovered from the lackluster showing, and lost a close election to Democrat Andy Beshear last November.
Goforth represents a rural section of eastern Kentucky. He dropped out of high school to help support his family, then earned his GED, served in the Army and went on to college. He became a pharmacist and opened a small chain of pharmacies.
Associated Press Writer Rebecca Reynolds Yonker in Louisville, Ky., contributed to this report.