Embattled Candidate Calls it Quits Just Before Primary

James “Jim” Foley, Derry Republican chairman and candidate for the District 19 Senate seat to be vacated by Jim Rausch, withdrew his name from the September primary after admitting to decades-old accusations of embezzlement, and falsification of military service documents.

Foley, 54, admitted to all the allegations after records from the New Hampshire Supreme Court were revealed. Although Foley said he “wasn’t the same person he was 30 years ago,” his campaign withdrew after expressing concern that family members were harassed because of it.

Court records from 1987 showed allegations of theft by Foley from a time when he practiced law with a group called Legal Clinics, diverting a percentage of his fee for his own use. Foley admitted to the allegations, saying he needed the money to feed a drug habit. He was fired, suspended from practicing law and subsequently reimbursed the clinics $1,050, according to court documents.

Foley was permanently suspended from practicing law in July 1987 by the New Hampshire Supreme Court Committee on Professional Conduct after documents were discovered that contained forgeries and falsified information in his attempt to join the U.S. Marines. He falsified his age and birth date, and used his father’s Social Security number, assets and income tax return in an attempt to be accepted for Officer Candidate School.

Foley said he was administratively discharged from the Marines for lying on his application and later reenlisted. His name and Social Security number are listed in a Marine data base, but there is no record of his service.

In a statement released Saturday Foley said he was suspending his campaign. “I feel that my decision is in the best interest of both the voters of the district and my family, particularly in light of some of the personal attacks they have had to endure. I do not want this to become a distraction from the important task at hand, electing a solid conservative Republican to the New Hampshire Senate from District 19.”

Foley concluded, “I am honored to have my family, friends and supporters stand by me even to this day, but it is the right thing to do for all involved.”

Foley’s two Republican rivals for the primary took the high road in interviews late last week. Regina Birdsell of Hampstead said, “I don’t want to expound on this matter. I’ll continue to work on what I can bring to Concord,” As for Foley, she said, “He needs to look in the mirror and think about what transpired.”

Frank Sapareto, said, “I want to keep this campaign about issues.” He admitted that he and other Republicans had “heard stuff,” but he wasn’t going to bring it into the campaign.

“I am more concerned about the party going forward,” Sapareto said.

Katherine Prudhomme-O’Brien, a Republican candidate for state representative, said, “It’s a great tragedy and I am very disappointed. I want him to step down.” Prudhomme-O’Brien also said she thought Foley should step down from his chairmanship of the town Republican Committee. A meeting of the committee was scheduled for Wednesday evening.

David Scanlon, assistant secretary of state, said Tuesday that Foley could still be elected. His name remains on the ballot unless he dies or is incapacitated, Scanlon said. And he cannot transfer his votes to another candidate. “He could still win, if he got enough votes,” Scanlon said.

Foley did not return calls for comment.