Friends in the House, Hostility at Home

In 1954, Coya Knutson won a seat the the US House of representatives by championing the rights of farmers in Minnesota (and by raising her own campaign funds). Over two terms she became quite popular among voters and her Washington colleagues, although she alienated her own party. But Knutson's real trouble came from her alcoholic husband, Andy. When she was in Minnesota, she sometimes had to wear sunglasses in public to hide the bruises he gave her.
In May, 1958, Coya Knutson was gearing up for her third term. Because of her unwillingness to fall in line with traditional Minnesota politics, the Democratic Party of in her home state would not formally endorse her, so she was forced into a primary—and it was then that a bombshell was released to the press in the form of a letter signed by Andy Knutson.

“Coya, I want you to tell the people of the 9th District this Sunday that you are through in politics. That you want to go home and make a home for your husband and son,” it read. ”As your husband I compel you to do this. I’m tired of being torn apart from my family. I’m sick and tired of having you run around with other men all the time and not your husband.” Andy pleaded with her to return to “the happy home we once enjoyed” and signed off, “I love you, honey.”

Soon, the front pages of newspapers, first in Minnesota, then across the country, bannered headlines of “Coya, Come Home.” Andy Knutson claimed that he was broke and that she “wouldn’t send me any money.” He sued Kjeldahl for $200,000 in damages, alleging that the young aide had “ruthlessly snatched” Coya’s “love and consortium” from a simple middle-aged farmer from Minnesota. Andy further alleged that Kjeldahl had referred to him as an “impotent old alcoholic whose departure from the farm to the nation’s capital would shock society.”

Knutson lost her third congressional campaign, but the story does not end there. The real truth behind what happened came out later, and you can read it all at the Smithsonian's Past Imperfect blog. Link

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I thought this article was "neat". Please, keep 'em coming.

How incredible that such a powerful person, was powerless agains their own spouse, simply for being a woman. In addition, voters today would rally beind such injustice. Things sure have changed. 1958 was not that long ago.
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