Kihuen won't seek reelection amid sexual harassment allegations

Rep. Ruben KihuenRuben Jesus Kihuen BernalNevada rematch pits rural voters against a booming Las Vegas Battle of the billionaires drives Nevada contest Danny Tarkanian wins Nevada GOP congressional primary MORE (D-Nev.) announced on Saturday that he would not seek reelection amid sexual misconduct allegations against him.

"It is in the best interests of my family and my constituents to complete my term in Congress and not seek re-election,” Kihuen said in a statement.

The news comes a day after the House Ethics Committee announced it was launching a probe into the allegations against the freshman lawmaker.

"I want to state clearly again that I deny the allegations in question. I am committed to fully cooperating with the House Ethics Committee and I look forward to clearing my name," he said Saturday.

"Due process and the presumption of innocence are bedrock legal principles which have guided our nation for centuries, and they should not be lost to unsubstantiated hearsay and innuendo."

Kihuen's announcement, which was first reported by The Las Vegas Review-Journal, came after BuzzFeed News reported earlier this month on allegations that Kihuen had made unwanted sexual advances toward a former campaign staffer.

A second woman recently came forward to accuse the congressman of repeatedly touching her inappropriately and sending her suggestive text messages when he was a Nevada state senator. 

Kihuen has denied the accusations, contending that he had dated one of the accusers, a claim that the accuser has pushed back on.

His announcement Saturday reportedly came ahead of additional accusations against the congressman.

The editor of The Nevada Independent said in a tweet that the publication gave Kihuen until noon on Saturday to answer questions about a story they were about to publish detailing evidence on reported "predatory behavior" as a member of Congress.

House Minority Leader Nancy PelosiNancy Patricia D'Alesandro PelosiDemocrats opposed to Pelosi lack challenger to topple her Sinema, Fitzpatrick call for long-term extension of Violence Against Women Act Internal RNC poll shows Pelosi is more popular than Trump: report MORE (D-Calif.) had called on Kihuen to resign after the allegations surfaced earlier this month, however, other Democratic leaders like House Minority Whip Steny HoyerSteny Hamilton HoyerDemocrats opposed to Pelosi lack challenger to topple her Dems' confidence swells with midterms fast approaching Trump's Puerto Rico tweets spark backlash MORE (D-Md.) have said the Ethics Committee needs to probe the allegations first.

Kihuen, who was considered a rising Democratic star before the allegations broke, had vowed not to resign, even in the face of pressure from party leaders. His departure from the race could open the seat to a Republican candidate, as the party fights to maintain its majority.

The allegations come after outgoing Sen. Al FrankenAlan (Al) Stuart FrankenNelson campaign to donate K from Al Franken group to charity Sexual assault is not a game — stop using women to score political points Election Countdown: Trump confident about midterms in Hill.TV interview | Kavanaugh controversy tests candidates | Sanders, Warren ponder if both can run | Super PACs spending big | Two states open general election voting Friday | Latest Senate polls MORE (D-Minn.) and former Rep. John ConyersJohn James ConyersSexual assault is not a game — stop using women to score political points Congressional Ethics committees are the wrong place to settle harassment and discrimination claims Conservative activist disrupts campaign event for Muslim candidates MORE Jr. (D-Mich.) announced their resignations this month following multiple allegations of sexual misconduct against them.

Rep. Blake FarentholdRandolph (Blake) Blake FarentholdFormer aides alleging sexual harassment on Capitol Hill urge congressional action AP Analysis: 25 state lawmakers running in 2018 have been accused of sexual misconduct Ex-lawmakers see tough job market with trade groups MORE (R-Texas) announced earlier this week that he plans to retire when his current term ends in 2018 after he was accused of sexual harassment.

Updated: 4:22 p.m.