Husband Who Challenged His Wife's NY Assembly Seat Drops Out

By Edward Tan, JD on May 17, 2012 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

After announcing his candidacy only a few days earlier, Republican Mark Schimel has pulled out of the race against his estranged wife, Democrat Michelle Schimel. The couple separated last year after 32 years of marriage, NBC New York reports. They had two children together.

Michelle is serving her third term in the New York State Assembly. Mark was competing for her spot.

So why did the Republican candidate suddenly decide to exit the race for the State Assembly seat?

Apparently, it's the press' fault, according to Mark. He cited being "inundated with calls from the media that focused on matter extraneous to the campaign." And because of their "proclivity for sensationalizing the news," he didn't think he'd be able to have an honest debate about the issues.

That should kind of be expected when your political rival is also your estranged spouse.

It was probably weird for their kids, too. Unlike in a divorce, in a legal separation both parties are still technically married, but usually living apart.

Couples file for separation for many reasons. Sometimes it's simply to resolve personal problems with the intention to reunite later. Other times, it's a precursor to divorce. In the latter, the separation period is typically used to allow the couple to work out property division and/or child custody details.

Michelle and Mark haven't officially divorced, yet. And according to Mark's mother, Irma, she still considers Michelle her daughter-in-law. She even received a Mother's Day card from the assemblywoman this year, MSNBC reports.

Mark's campaign appears to be over and the couple remains separated. However, that didn't stop him from taking one last political jab at his estranged wife before leaving. He chided her for voting against a real property tax cap. Michelle Schimel has called Mark's campaign "a distraction."

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