Kansas Dem drops out of House race amid sexual harassment allegations

Kansas Dem drops out of House race amid sexual harassment allegations
© Andrea Ramsey Facebook page

A Kansas Democrat running for a House seat in 2018 is dropping out of the race on Friday amid sexual harassment allegations.

Andrea Ramsey, a former business executive who was considered a top House candidate for Democrats, was running against Rep. Kevin YoderKevin Wayne YoderRep. Steve Womack said to have 'inside track' on key gavel Harassment allegations roil 2018 House field Kansas Dem drops out of House race amid sexual harassment allegations MORE (R-Kan.).

The Kansas City Star first reported a 2005 lawsuit against LabOne, the company where Ramsey worked as an executive vice president of human resources. Gary Funkhouser, her male subordinate, alleged that she sexually harassed him and retaliated against him after he rejected her advances.

Sources told the Star that Funkhouser reached a settlement with LabOne and agreed to permanently dismiss the case after mediation the following year.

Funkhouser detailed the allegations in a lawsuit he filed against LabOne as well as in a complaint submitted to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). According to the Star, he claimed in the complaint that Ramsey engaged in “unwelcome and inappropriate sexual comments and innuendos” in September 2004 while he was a human resources manager. He said she also made advances on a business trip in March 2005.

Funkhouser alleged in the complaint that Ramsey avoided contact with him after he rejected his advances, and eventually fired him on June 13, 2005.

Ramsey denied the allegations in a statement about her dropping out of the race, arguing that her opponents “have chosen to use these false allegations against me for political purposes.”

In her statement, Ramsey said that after the EEOC investigated the claims, they opted not to pursue it and Funkhouser ultimately dismissed the lawsuit voluntarily. She said that she wasn’t part of the resolution of the case since she wasn’t a named party.

“In its rush to claim the high ground in our roiling national conversation about harassment, the Democratic Party has implemented a zero tolerance standard,” Ramsey said in a statement.

“For me, that means a vindictive, terminated employee’s false allegations are enough for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) to decide not to support our promising campaign. We are in a national moment where rough justice stands in place of careful analysis, nuance and due process.”

The DCCC, which hasn’t made an endorsement in the primary, released a statement about the allegations levied against Ramsey.

“Members and candidates must all be held to the highest standard. If anyone is guilty of sexual harassment or sexual assault, that person should not hold public office,” DCCC spokeswoman Meredith Kelly said in a statement provided to The Hill.

Democrats have made Yoder’s district a priority as they seek to flip 24 seats next year to take back the House. Hillary Clinton won his Kansas City-area district by a little over 1 point in 2016.

In her statement, Ramsey said that she’s been considered a front-runner in the race and would have been Democrats’ best chance to flip the key seat. Ramsey was backed by EMILY’s List, which aims to elect women who support abortion rights to office.

In light of the allegations, EMILY’s List issued a statement, “We understand that Andrea Ramsey has dropped out of the race. We support her decision and we wish her well.”