ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Former Sen. Pete Domenici disclosed that he fathered a secret child in the 1970s with the 24-year-old daughter of one of his Senate colleagues — a startling revelation for a politician with a reputation as an upstanding family man.
Domenici and Michelle Laxalt sent statements to the Albuquerque Journal that announced the relationship for the first time and identified their son as Nevada attorney Adam Paul Laxalt. They said they decided to go public with their decades-old secret because they believed someone was about to release the information in an attempt to smear Domenici.
"I deeply regret this and am very sorry for my behavior," Domenici, 80, said in his statement. "I hope New Mexicans will view that my accomplishments for my beloved state outweigh my personal transgression."
Domenici was the longest-serving senator in New Mexico history when he retired following the 2008 election after six terms. He was known for his unflagging support of the state's national laboratories and military installations, and he became a power broker for his work on the federal budget and energy policy.