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Cox Candidate Explains Service Error

Cox executive and former Army Ranger Gary McCollum, who is making a run for the Virginia state senate as a Democrat, has apologized for mistaking his service in campaign material.

After The Virginian-Pilot newspaper first reported on the claim, McCollum's campaign issued a statement correcting the error, but Republicans called for his withdrawal from the campaign, according to the Military Times.

In the statement on his website, McCollum, who is on leave from his job as senior VP in charge of Cox's Virginia cable operations according to the Virginia Senate Democratic Caucus, says he was a Ranger from 1981 to 1989, and was on active reserve from 1989 until 1992. In 1992 he says, he became part of the "inactive reserve" and assumed he still was a Major.

He said that at some point in 2001 he apparently should have received a discharge letter but says he does not think he ever got it.  He also says when his campaign requested his records there was no discharge note.

"Does this make it excusable that our campaign website and some printed materials read 'currently a Major in the Army Reserve' instead of 'was a Major in the Army Reserve'?  Of course not," he said, sounding like a former Ranger.

But while embarrassing, he said, he is not exiting the campaign. "I believe my life’s work will allow me to go to Richmond and get things done for Virginia Beach, I hope as you get to know me you’ll agree," he said. 

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.