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Wyoming official won’t run for governor after harassment allegations

Wyoming official won’t run for governor after harassment allegations
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Wyoming Secretary of State Ed Murray (R) said he will not seek re-election or run for higher office after two women accused him of sexual harassment.

Last month, a Colorado woman said Murray had sexually assaulted her in the early 1980s, according to the Casper Star-Tribune. The woman, Tatiana Maxwell, was an 18-year old intern in Murray’s law firm in 1982 when she said Murray attacked her.

This week, a second woman, Theresa Sullivan Twiford, said Murray had forcibly kissed her outside his family’s home in 1988.

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Twiford was 18 at the time. She is the daughter of Mike Sullivan, Wyoming’s governor at the time of the alleged incident. She said she had been babysitting Murray’s children on New Year’s Eve.

“Ed followed me outside. I thought this was odd since theirs was a quiet, safe neighborhood and I did not need to be walked out to my car. As I walked around to the driver’s side, Ed continued to follow me. I opened the driver’s door but before I could sit down, Ed came up to me and abruptly put both of his hands on either side of my face, pulled me to him and forcibly kissed me,” Twiford said in a statement to the Star-Tribune. “I was shocked and appalled. As I backed away from him, he said, ‘Everyone should have a kiss on New Year’s Eve.’”

Murray denied the allegation of assault, though he has not answered questions about the accusations. He said he did not remember the evening Twiford described, though Murray confirmed his family was friendly with Twiford’s mother and father. 

Murray, a Republican, had been seen as the front-runner in the race to replace term-limited Gov. Matt Mead (R). But he said in a statement Wednesday he would not seek any office in 2018.

“I’ve decided that I will not seek reelection or run for higher office in 2018. There will be other great candidates who can lead our State forward. I’m blessed to have the wife and family of my dreams and, in the end, we’re strong and united together,” Murray said.

Murray is the latest state politician to be swept up in the wave of harassment and assault allegations in recent months. More than a dozen state legislators in states across the country have been accused of improper behavior, abuse or assault, and at least ten have resigned under pressure from legislative leaders.