8th District race gets personal for Moss, Bucshon

By THOMAS B. LANGHORNE
Evansville Courier & Press

EVANSVILLE — The 8th District congressional race is getting personal, entangled in the powder keg issues of domestic abuse and political betrayal.

Bucshon
Moss

Rep. Larry Bucshon and Richard Moss are accusing each other of inappropriately dragging wives into the political fray of the Republican primary election. The two men acknowledge having a confrontation over the issue Feb. 17 at a Vanderburgh County GOP event, but each accuses the other of belligerent behavior that day.

The fuse was lit when Moss began making an issue of Bucshon’s decision in 2016 to move his wife, anesthesiologist Kathryn Bucshon, and preteen daughter to Washington, D.C. to live with him. Against that backdrop, Bucshon saw red when Moss pointed out Kathryn Bucshon’s presence at the GOP event last month.

“You don’t call out people’s family,” Bucshon said Wednesday. “I said, ‘Leave her out of it.’”

That’s not all he said. The four-term congressman acknowledged he warned Moss in “a private conversation” afterward that if he persisted in mentioning his family and pointing out Kathryn Bucshon at political events, he should be prepared to talk about his own family.

“And we know what that is,” Larry Bucshon said.

Moss, a Jasper-based head and neck cancer surgeon, was charged with battering his wife in 1993. According to an affidavit filed with Dubois County Superior Court on March 16, 1993, Moss “pulled her hair and shoved her down onto some broken glass.”

But Moss and his wife, to whom he is still married, said there is no basis for those 25-year-old allegations. She described the charges as a “misunderstanding,” and the charges were later dropped. She supports Moss.

Bucshon pointed out he hasn’t mentioned Moss’s domestic incident to date.

“Have you seen me bring it up?” he said.

Moss has used this graphic in campaign materials, comparing Bucshon to the children's book, "Where's Waldo?"

Moss’s reference to Kathryn Bucshon at last month’s GOP event is captured in a videotape of his remarks provided by his campaign. While discussing Bucshon’s residence in Washington with his wife and daughter, Moss gestures toward Larry and Kathryn Bucshon off-camera.

“I would not move my family to Washington, D.C. I know he’s got a house here, but his family lives in D.C., so he’s pulled an Evan Bayh,” Moss said, referring to the former Democratic senator who was accused of living in Washington, D.C.

“Leave my family out of it,” Bucshon is heard saying.

With the camera jerking upward and both Moss and Bucshon out of the frame, a momentary scattershot verbal back-and-forth ensues. Moss is heard saying, “You’ve got your wife here.”

Moss also pounded his frequent campaign theme that Bucshon is part of a Republican establishment in Washington that pretends to be conservative while actually selling out conservative principles.

Moss asked the local Republicans to support him, “If you want a conservative voice in Congress that will not betray you.”

The confrontation that followed was angry and belligerent, both men said afterward — but, as might be expected, each blamed the other.

Moss said in a statement that Bucshon, “got into my face, inches away and began poking his finger in my chest, red-faced and angry.”

Bucshon’s campaign issued a statement calling that “completely false.”

“Richard Moss is projecting and, based on his past arrest and charges for domestic violence, it is not surprising that he would be aggressive toward Dr. Bucshon, not the other way around,” it said.

No one knows how acrimonious the race will be going forward, but the issues seem bound to remain the same.

Moss vowed to continue pointing out Bucshon’s wife and daughter’s move to Washington, stressing that it’s not his only issue with the veteran congressman.

The residency issue is about priorities and values, not the law. The U.S. Constitution requires only that members of Congress reside in the state they represent when the election is held.

Moss says Bucshon may have a home on Evansville’s north side that he visits, but wherever he lives full time with his family is his true primary residence. When a politician sets up shop in Washington, Moss says, it shows his priorities are more in line with Washington elites than people back home.

Bucshon vigorously denies that he has “gone Washington,” arguing that his wife and then-12-year-old daughter moved there because he wanted to see more of them. He points out that he missed chunks of his three older children’s lives in Warrick County while he was serving in Congress.

Bucshon says he still returns home nearly every weekend.

“(Moss) has nothing else to campaign on rather than trying to make an issue out of this,” he said.

But Moss said residency is a legitimate issue.

“I assure you, if it was a Democrat (House member living in Washington with family), it would be an issue for the Republicans. So, it’s an issue,” he told attendees of the GOP event.

There is a third candidate in the 8th District Republican primary — Rachel Covington, a 25-year-old former Evansville resident who teaches English to Japanese students in Tokyo. Moss and Bucshon say they don’t know her.

Following campaign developments from Japan by monitoring Moss and Bucshon’s Facebook pages, Covington learned of their dispute and sent a statement by email to the Courier & Press. The statement took no sides.

“I want to ask both candidates to treat each other how they would want to be treated,” it said.




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