IMAGE: Mike McGavick
U.S. Senate candidate Mike McGavick.
updated 8/24/2006 8:01:05 PM ET 2006-08-25T00:01:05

Republican U.S. Senate challenger Mike McGavick, in a remarkable confession of what he called his personal and political shortcomings, revealed a drunken driving incident Thursday and discussed his divorce, a political dirty trick and payroll slashing at his old insurance company.

The divorce, his regret over an earlier campaign tactic, and layoffs at Safeco Insurance Co. had all been noted in previous campaign coverage. Word of the DUI in 1993 was new, as was his overall decision to publicly discuss his shortcomings.

McGavick said he had no indication that opponents were about to divulge the drunken driving incident or any other things he mentioned.

His comments came in an interview with The Associated Press and he later covered the same topics in "an open letter from Mike" on his campaign blog.

McGavick, who retired from Safeco to run against Democratic Sen. Maria Cantwell, formerly was campaign director for Republican Slade Gorton's successful Senate run in 1988. He later served as Gorton's Senate chief of staff and then became a consultant and lobbyist for the insurance industry and finally a top leader of two insurance companies.

Cantwell edged Gorton from office six years ago. Cantwell allies have criticized McGavick's tenure at Safeco and his "golden parachute" of $28 million as he left the company where he sacked part of the workforce.

Both McGavick and Cantwell have challengers in their respective primaries on Sept. 19 but are heavily favored to win. Cantwell leads in the polls, but both parties and most analysts foresee a potentially close race. Six years ago, Cantwell won by fewer than 2,300 votes out of more than 2 million cast.

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