Brad Staats, a Tennessee Republican who lost a congressional election earlier this month, was arrested Sunday on a charge of domestic violence.
On the campaign trail, the self-billed “family matters” candidate championed so-called conservative values like blocking marriage equality, denying women the right to abortions and preventing undocumented immigrants from becoming citizens. Staats lost to Rep. Jim Cooper (D-TN) by a margin of 32 percent to 65 percent, and thanked his wife in his concession speech.
Last weekend, however, the 43-year-old Staats wasn’t interested in saying much, telling a reporter for The Tennessean that his arrest is “not what it appears to be.”
Officers confronted Staats after responding to a call from his wife, Bethany, who claimed he slapped her across the face and left a bright red palm print. Police confirmed in an affidavit (PDF) that she appeared to have been marked by a blow to the face.
He was later booked on misdemeanor domestic assault and released on a $5,000 bond.
Staats came to national notoriety in October when he published a photo of a silver semi-automatic firearm on his Facebook page, along with the message, “Welcome to Tennessee, Mr. Obama.”
He later told reporters that the post was not intended to threaten the president, but was instead meant to criticize a United Nations treaty dealing with the illegal trade of small firearms. The treaty was not mentioned in his original post.
Conspiracy theories about the U.N. Arms Trade Treaty are popular with many conservatives, but in reality the treaty failed to gain support after the U.S. and other countries declined to sign on earlier this year. While the U.S. did say it supports more debate on the treaty, the Obama administration insisted earlier this month that it would not agree to anything that “infringes on the constitutional rights of our citizens to bear arms.”