A domestic abuser, always has one weakness that stands out:
He will repeat the behavior. That's not to say that a person with a history of violent attacks on domestic partners or others can't learn to not behave violently, but to do so requires that he first acknowlege that he has a problem with it and go through all the sometimes difficult steps to change the way he responds to people.
Unfortunately, representative Daniel Patterson (D-Tucson) is not one of those who has ever acknowleged he has a problem. Recall that back in March a story broke in the Three Sonorans blog detailing both past police reports in which rep. Patterson had attacked others, and also his assault and battery on his then-wife, Jeneiene Schaffer. Rep. Patterson was at the time going through a messy divorce from her and was living with his campaign manager, Georgette Escobar.
Some of us in the state party put together a series of resolutions (each time being blocked by various bureaucratic inefficiencies) targetting Patterson's violent behavior (and Republican Senator Scott Bundgaard, whose domestic violence episode was front page news.) Our first resolution was posted here along with a synopsis including rep. Patterson's denial on his blog when I asked him about it, which I soon determined was a lie.
One person did believe all his denials. Whether because he is a smooth talker, or because the truth would otherwise be too awful to face, his campaign manager/girlfriend, Georgette Escobar, always stood by Patterson and refused to believe the stories about how he treats the women in his life.
Until now, that is. Apparently Escobar got all the convincing she needed when Patterson went after her, beat her up and drove her out of the house. I actually do commend her for going public with it quickly. Rep. Patterson for his part is cowering in his home and refusing to let anyone on the property to serve him with a restraining order from Escobar (he's known to be armed, so when he refuses to let anyone on the property it's a threat best taken seriously.) This is also in character for him. On one previous occason when police were investigating a violent episode he had with Schaffer he took off, called his home and when a police officer answered he refused to return until after the officers had left. Safe to say that Dan Patterson knows how to do two things well: he knows how to beat up women and he knows how to run away and hide afterward.
He can't hide out forever though, the legislature is in session and he will be expected on the floor.
And I for one hope that the rest of the Democrats in the legislature call for an ethics inquiry, instead of waiting for the Republicans to do it (and if the Republicans do then I will say a laudatory word about them-- at least they had the backbone to confront Mr. Bundgaard and eventually get him out of the legislature.)
Rep. Patterson needs to resign. And if he doesn't then his colleagues should form a bipartisan coalition against him.
As a Democrat, I would like to invite Rep. Patterson to leave the Democratic party. We are a party that is on record as condemning domestic abuse, especially by members of the legislature (we finally got that voted on in Yuma in November.) And unlike someone who (still inexcusably) loses their temper one time, rep. Patterson has done this again, and again, and again. The only safe place for him is a jail cell, but as long as he is out of one he should also be out of the Democratic party.
UPDATE: The state party is coming around on this. State chairman Luis Heredia and House Minority Leader Chad Campbell have both called on Patterson to resign (though being careful to word it in a way that suggests their primary reason is that these allegations are a distraction) and rep. Katie Hobbs has submitted a petition signed by fifteen house Democrats (out of seventeen who could have signed it, given that there is one Democratic vacancy and the other seat is held by Patterson) to ethics committee chair Rep. Ted Voigt asking the house ethics committee to open an investigation into rep. Patterson. Rep. Voigt has taken the preliminary steps to do so.