Kihuen won't seek reelection amid sexual harassment allegations

Rep. Ruben KihuenRuben Jesus KihuenNevada Dem sanctioned for sexual misconduct announces city council bid Dem gains put Sunbelt in play for 2020 Pence aide defends Meadows after ethics panel reprimand: He ‘had my back’ 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 PelosiBudowsky: Pelosi can break shutdown stalemate GOP seeks to change narrative in shutdown fight Poll shows 25 percent view McConnell favorably, lowest among leaders in survey 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 HoyerHouse passes bill expressing support for NATO House Dems send McConnell shutdown stories, press for spending bill vote This week: Congress heading in opposite directions on shutdown plans 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 FrankenIdentity politics and the race for the Democratic nomination Bill Maher defends Bernie Sanders campaign over sexual harassment allegations Gillibrand defends calling for Franken to resign during stop in Iowa MORE (D-Minn.) and former Rep. John ConyersJohn James ConyersWomen's March plans 'Medicare for All' day of lobbying in DC How Pelosi is punishing some critics while rewarding others Dem chairwoman plans hearing on Medicare for all proposals MORE Jr. (D-Mich.) announced their resignations this month following multiple allegations of sexual misconduct against them.

Rep. Blake FarentholdRandolph (Blake) Blake FarentholdFormer Texas lawmaker Blake Farenthold resigns from lobbying job Congress sends bill overhauling sexual harassment policy to Trump's desk Senate approves bill reforming Congress's sexual harassment policy 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.