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Conn. candidate who deleted sexist tweet about Kamala Harris owes child support but gives big to Trump and GOP

Tribune News Service logo Tribune News Service 12/19/2019 By Daniela Altimari, The Hartford Courant
Donald Trump in a suit standing in front of a curtain: Robert F. Hyde, left, and President Donald Trump. Hyde, a Republican candidate for Congress, owes more than $2,000 in child support even as he continued to donate thousands to President Trump and the RNC. © Courant/TNS Robert F. Hyde, left, and President Donald Trump. Hyde, a Republican candidate for Congress, owes more than $2,000 in child support even as he continued to donate thousands to President Trump and the RNC.

HARTFORD, Conn. — Robert F. Hyde, the Republican candidate for Congress whose sexually suggestive tweet about Kamala Harris drew widespread condemnation from leaders of both political parties, owes the mother of his 13-year-old son more than $2,000 in child support, according to court records, even as he has continued to make donations to President Donald Trump and the Republican National Committee.

Jennyfer Morin of Torrington said she was compelled to come forward because Hyde is seeking public support for his campaign to represent Connecticut’s 5th District. “I’m shocked that people are planning to vote for this man,” she said in an interview.

Court filings shared by Morin and reviewed by the Hartford Courant state that Hyde has donated more than $56,000 to political campaigns since October 2016. Most of those contributions went to the Republican National Committee, according to electronic filings with the Federal Election Commission.

Hyde also donated at least $2,000 to President Donald Trump’s reelection fund and at least $750 to the Connecticut Republican Party, according to the FEC. On Wednesday, the state party announced it was returning Hyde’s contributions, citing his “vile comments on Twitter.”

On Dec. 3, Hyde posted a crude and sexist tweet about Harris’ decision to drop out of the 2020 Democratic presidential race. The tweet was removed earlier this week after several prominent Republicans and Democrats criticized Hyde and urged him to drop his bid.

Hyde, the owner of a landscaping company in Simsbury, could not be reached for comment. A phone number previously associated with his campaign appears to be disconnected and he has blocked reporters on Twitter, making it impossible to send him a direct message. A West Hartford law firm that Hyde had retained prior to 2017 did not return a request for comment and Hyde was not represented by a lawyer in later proceedings, according to court filings.

Hyde announced his candidacy and filed paperwork but he has not raised any money, according to his most recent campaign finance report. He is one of three Republicans running for the 5th District seat, which is currently held by Democratic freshman Jahana Hayes.

Even before the current controversy sparked by the Harris tweet, Hyde’s candidacy had failed to gain traction. Although the Republican Party will not officially select a candidate until May, most of the GOP establishment has disavowed Hyde and demanded he quit the race.

Morin said she was struck by the difference between Hyde’s public persona as a political figure and his abdication of personal responsibility regarding his teenage son.

“He can’t even afford $100 a week in child support but he’s golfing with Trump,” Morin said. She produced a photo from Hyde’s Facebook page showing him beaming as he stood next to Eric Trump at Trump National Golf Club Bedminster in New Jersey. The same photo was posted to Hyde’s campaign Instagram page.

The court case between Morin and Hyde has been going on for years, she said. “We’re going back and forth and he’s stating he’s unemployed and can’t afford child support,” she said.

Hyde broke off their relationship in 2006, after he learned Morin was pregnant, she said. Since then Hyde has had sporadic contact with his son, and “there have been years during which there was no contact at all,” according to an April 2018 ruling issued by Judge Kari A. Dooley.

Morin, who drives a school bus for a living and earns less than $400 per week, sought additional child support and the court agreed, ordering Hyde to pay $300 per week as of Jan. 1, 2018. Hyde was also ordered to pay $4,000 in Morin’s attorney fees. The court rejected Hyde’s request for custody, granting him visitation rights only at the discretion of Morin.

In the court filings, Hyde said he could not afford to pay the court-ordered $300 a week in child support.

On Nov. 4, the family support magistrate in Torrington issued a temporary order for Hyde allowing him to pay $94 per week in child support, as well as weekly assessment of $14 to make up the $2,500 he owes Morin. The case was continued until Jan. 13.

Meanwhile, Hyde tweeted a defiant message earlier this week criticizing the “libs (and) RINOs” calling for him to abandon his campaign, suggesting he’s in the race to stay.


©2019 The Hartford Courant (Hartford, Conn.)

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