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Huffman revises campaign bio after criticism


Assemblyman Jared Huffman of San Rafael said he revised his congressional campaign biography to clarify his role on the USA Volleyball Team in 1987, but dismissed the episode as “petty politics” over an issue from 25 years ago.

Congressional candidate Jared Huffman chats on his phone during his election night party at the Heritage House on the Dominican University campus in San Rafael on Tuesday, June 5, 2012. Huffman is running for the seat being vacated by Rep. Lynn Woolsey. (IJ photo/Alan Dep)

“Frankly, this is silly stuff,” said Huffman, the Democratic nominee for Congress representing the North Coast and likely winner in November’s runoff against Republican Dan Roberts.

The Hotline on Call column in the weekly political magazine National Journal last month challenged Huffman’s biography for saying he was a member of the “World Champion USA Volleyball Team in 1987,” a claim the column described as “misleading information.”

Huffman, a former environmental attorney, said he could defend the original reference to his volleyball experience but opted to amend it because “this is a footnote in my biography that is not worth fighting about.”

Huffman immediately issued a press release stating that he trained and competed with the USA team for seven months in 1987 following its victory in the world championship tournament in the fall of 1986.

The team, during his stint, “was indeed the reigning world champion” and was introduced as such to widespread audiences, Huffman’s release said.

Huffman said the National Journal contacted his campaign in August, asserting that the biography “was an attempt to mislead people into thinking he had played in the 1986 world championship.”

In an interview Thursday, Huffman said his initial reference was “perfectly accurate,” but he amended it to “remove any ambiguity.”

The biography now says Huffman “was a member of the USA Volleyball Team in 1987 when the team was ranked #1 in the world.”

Huffman, who attended UC Santa Barbara on a volleyball scholarship, “graduated magna cum laude and was a three-time NCAA All-American volleyball player,” the biography says.

Huffman forwarded an email from Marv Dunphy, coach of the 1987 U.S. volleyball team, attesting to his team membership and adding: “I have great respect for you and our friendship.”

Another email included a photo of the 1987 team, which included volleyball great Karch Kiraly, who recently was named head coach of the U.S. women’s national volleyball team.

“The only scandal involving my brief time with the USA Volleyball Team was the embarrassingly short shorts we wore, and my cheesy 1987 haircut,” Huffman said.

Huffman led the June primary for the North Coast congressional seat with 37.5 percent of the vote, and is favored to beat Roberts, who finished second with 15 percent, in a district where Democratic voters outnumber Republicans by more than 2-to-1.

5 Responses to “Huffman revises campaign bio after criticism”

  1. Paul Andersen says:

    Give Huffmam a break. He suffers from an affliction endemic to all politicians: the need to exaggerate their resumes and accomplishments.

    There must be some reasonable psychological explanation, most likely involving ego and the need for achievement?

    And they wonder why everyone thinks they’re full of it. Obviously we don’t have to look very far. Huffman will fit in great in Congress.

  2. Steveguy says:

    That seemed to trump the claim, but the claim is true. I am NOT impressed by his politics at all, but I am impressed that he was on that team.

    I could say that I was on the Cal Swim team that won the NCAA championships. Yes, a year before, and I was like 4th or 8th string. Local HS good. Granted a spot on the team.

    I did not rise to his level, if he was on the team, why change it ? I would be way cooler if he was on the Surfing Team, or was a Motocross Champion, but hey, volleyball works. Congrats to him.

    Do not vote for him ( other reasons)

  3. Sominex says:

    Huffman looks to be telling the truth judging by these pictures of official US team gear including some items bearing world champion on them from his website (you have to scroll to the bottom to see the photos of the volleyball stuff). http://www.jaredhuffman.com/pressroom/photos/flickr_photoset.php?_c=10v1lnnvn9d5ixl&id=72157624605466014&done=%2F#

    I’m wondering why this “dispute” was ever considered news.

  4. Ken S. says:

    Gee, I’m OUTRAGED. The Hotline on Call and the National Journal should be proud of their journalistic due diligence, letting us all know about this RIVETING incident from a lifetime ago.


    If this is the best the Republicans can come up with, I’d say Huffman’s safe.

  5. wishful thinker says:

    Dear PD. If you looked a little bit, you’d find more than a few “irregularities” in Huffman’s background as well as so-called accomplishments. They’re not hard to find. Don’t forget to delve into his list of campaign contributors for those who stand to benefit heavily with him in their pocket.

    Please prove to us that the PD’s new ownership allows you to do real reporting on the candidates and tell the people the whole truth about them. We deserve it, don’t we?