GOP lawmaker says he met accused Russian agent at Thanksgiving barbecue
GOP lawmaker Tim Murphy to retire at end of term
Rep. Tim Murphy (R-Pa.) announced Wednesday that he will retire at the end of his term next year after a report that he suggested a woman he was having an affair with get an abortion.
In a statement to Pittsburgh CBS affiliate KDKA, Murphy said that he would not seek reelection in 2018 and would instead spend his remaining time in Congress working on mental health-care reform.
"After discussions with my family and staff, I have come to the decision that I will not seek reelection to Congress at the end of my current term," he said.
"In the coming weeks I will take personal time to seek help as my family and I continue to work through our personal difficulties and seek healing. I ask you to respect our privacy during this time."
President Trump won 58.1 percent of the vote in Murphy's district in the 2016 presidential election. Trump's Democratic rival, Hillary Clinton, won 38.5 percent of the vote.
The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported Tuesday that a text message sent to Murphy from Shannon Edwards, a forensic psychologist with whom the lawmaker was having an affair, suggested that the Pennsylvania Republican had urged the woman to have an abortion amid a pregnancy scare.
"And you have zero issue posting your pro-life stance all over the place when you had no issue asking me to abort our unborn child just last week when we thought that was one of the options," the text message read.
Murphy replied: "I get what you say about my March for life messages. I've never written them. Staff does them. I read them and winced. I told staff don't write any more. I will."
Murphy admitted to the affair in September.
The text messages were an embarrassing and politically damaging revelation for a lawmaker known for his vocal opposition to abortion. Politico reported Wednesday that Murphy was under pressure from top Republicans to step down and that he privately met with House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) on Wednesday.
Murphy is a member of the House Pro-Life Caucus and has received the backing of anti-abortion groups. He voted for a measure on Tuesday banning abortion after 20 weeks of pregnancy.
Despite the revelations, Murphy's 18th Congressional District, in southwest Pennsylvania, is likely to remain in Republican control in the 2018 midterm elections. Rep. Steve Stivers (R-Ohio), the chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee, said in a statement shortly after Murphy announced his retirement that he remained confident the district would stay in GOP hands.
"While I am extremely disappointed in the circumstances surrounding Congressman Murphy's retirement, I remain confident that PA-18 will remain under Republican control next year," Stivers said.
"I look forward to working with the eventual Republican nominee to ensure the district's conservative values are represented in Congress."