Nevada Rep. Ruben Kihuen, a House Democrat accused of sexually harassing multiple women, will not run for reelection.
Kihuen had previously said he wouldn’t seek office once his term, his first in Congress, ended. But earlier this month, he began having conversations about running again.
Kihuen waited until the last moment to decide he wouldn’t run; the deadline was 5 p.m. PT Friday. As late as Thursday Kihuen told the Nevada Independent he still hadn’t made up his mind on whether he would run again.
Kihuen lost support of Democratic leadership and many of his House colleagues after BuzzFeed News reported the first allegations from a woman, Samantha, who worked on his campaign during the primary and said he repeatedly harassed and made sexual advances toward her.
Another woman, a female lobbyist, also told the Nevada Independent that Kihuen touched her without consent multiple times and showed the paper hundreds of suggestive messages from Kihuen.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and DCCC Chair Ben Ray Lujan immediately called on him to resign after the first allegations came out. But asked directly whether she still thought Kihuen should resign earlier in March, Pelosi wouldn’t answer, saying that she didn’t want to “speculate” on something that may not happen.
Kihuen’s district is a competitive one, and several Democrats and Republicans, including one Democrat and one Republican who previously held the seat, have filed to take it over.
A former Nevada Democratic operative predicted it would be “really, really hard” for Kihuen to find friends if he chose to run, and said he believed Kihuen wasn’t a viable candidate. “I don’t see a path in which Ruben decides to run and he can find a way to weave to his way through the primary and into the general,” the operative told BuzzFeed News before it was clear whether Kihuen would run.
“It’ll only be more stories and it will only drag him down further.”
Lissandra Villa is a politics reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Washington, DC.
Contact Lissandra Villa at email@example.com.
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