Colorado state Senate votes against expelling GOP lawmaker accused of groping aide

Colorado state Senate votes against expelling GOP lawmaker accused of groping aide
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The Colorado state Senate voted on Monday against expelling a Republican senator accused of sexually harassing a former legislative aide, The Associated Press reported.

The Republican-controlled Senate voted 17-17 on the measure to expel Sen. Randy Baumgardner, with opponents saying there wasn’t enough evidence to merit an expulsion. A two-thirds majority is needed for an expulsion.

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Baumgardner — who is the second Colorado lawmaker to face the possibility of expulsion over sexual misconduct accusations — apologized for offending anyone but maintained that he was not guilty of any wrongdoing.

Although the senator stepped down as chair of the transportation committee, Democrats argued that a full expulsion would have made it clear to people working for legislators that their complaints are taken seriously.

Senate President Kevin Grantham has deemed Baumgardner’s case closed.

Earlier this month Rep. Steve Lebsock — who was elected as a Democrat but switched his party affiliation to Republican on his last day in office — was expelled after reports that he harassed or intimidated five women.

The accusations against Baumgardner has raised the total number of Colorado legislators accused of misconduct in recent months to five.

Baumgardner’s aide claims that he had grabbed and slapped her behind on multiple occasions.

A third-party investigator said the claims made against Baumgardner were credible, according to the AP.