Retired Army Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez ended his bid on Friday night for Senate from Texas, leaving Democrats currently without a candidate in the race to succeed retiring Republican Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison.
The San Antonio Express-News reports:
In a statement issued by his campaign to supporters, Sanchez said anemic fundraising and the loss of his house to a fire had led him to conclude that a statewide campaign was “impractical for me at this time.”
“After extensive consultation with my family … I have decided to put family first and I will therefore end my campaign for the 2012 U.S. Senate seat as of today,” he said.
Sanchez launched his campaign back in May, after having reportedly being recruited by national Democrats. On the one hand, Sanchez’s military career and Hispanic background might have made a good profile for a candidate in Republican-heavy Texas. But his record was not without some serious flaws.
Sanchez was the commander of the U.S.-led coalition in Iraq, during the first year of occupation after the toppling of the Saddam Hussein regime — until the abuses at the Abu Ghraib prison led to the end of his military career. He denied any wrongdoing in the abuses, maintaing that he did not give permission for such practices.
However, as TPM has noted, the results of a Freedom Of Information Act request by the ACLU in 2005 showed Sanchez had ordered his troops to “exploit Arab fear of dogs”, as well as authorized other harsh interrogation techniques on prisoners. As the BBC reported in 2005, the ACLU said the FOIA’d documents found “the [interrogation] measures go beyond generally accepted practice and says Gen Sanchez should be made accountable.”
Sanchez later became heavily critical of the Bush administration’s handling of the war, telling the New York Times in 2007: “The administration, Congress and the entire inter-agency, especially the State Department, must shoulder responsibility for the catastrophic failure, and the American people must hold them accountable.”