U.S. Representative Blake Farenthold, a Corpus Christi Republican, won't be seeking re-election in 2018, according to Corpus Christi ABC
and NBC news affiliates. This announcement, confirmed by Nueces County Republican Party Chair Mike Bergsma to KRISTV
, comes shortly after several former staff members at Farenthold's D.C. office
described an environment saturated in inappropriate sexual commentary, gender bias, and unchecked anger to multiple media outlets.
In the words of one former aide in an interview with the New York Times
: “On any given week you were prone to either ridicule, rude comments, acts of aggression or rage.”
Farenthold was sued in 2014 by another former staffer for his overt sexual harassment, including allegations that Farenthold told her he had "wet dreams" about her
and once joked that she had a semen stain on her clothing in the office.
While these claims have been public knowledge since the 2014 lawsuit, the case resurfaced on December 1 when a U.S. House investigation discovered Farenthold had used $84,000 of taxpayer's dollars
to settle the case.
According to Washington Examiner'
s David M. Drucker, Farenthold was pressured to resign
in the wake of these allegations by U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan. Farenthold allegedly resisted the request — until now.
Farenthold's expected to finish out his current term before ending his career in Congress, which ends in 2019. But since he didn’t withdraw his re-election bid until after the state’s deadline, his name will remain on the March 6 primary ballot. It’s a loophole Texas' Democratic Party isn’t comfortable with.
“Blake Farenthold should immediately leave office for his vile behavior, a PR stunt to not run for reelection is simply not enough," said Texas Democratic Party Director Crystal K. Perkins in a press statement. “The fact is, Farenthold has violated the public trust and shown a pattern of demeaning, degrading, and disrespectful conduct towards women.”