Kihuen won’t seek reelection amid sexual harassment allegations
Rep. Ruben Kihuen (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.
Important context: @reviewjournal posted story of @RepKihuen‘s announcement at noon. Last night, we gave @RepKihuen until noon to answer questions about a story we are about to publish — the first evidence of his predatory behavior as a member of Congress. Up on @TheNVIndy soon.
— Jon Ralston (@RalstonReports) December 16, 2017
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) had called on Kihuen to resign after the allegations surfaced earlier this month, however, other Democratic leaders like House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (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 Franken (D-Minn.) and former Rep. John Conyers Jr. (D-Mich.) announced their resignations this month following multiple allegations of sexual misconduct against them.
Rep. Blake Farenthold (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.
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