Amidst a scandal involving alleged sexual harassment of a staffer and a public payout of funds to settle, U.S. Rep. Patrick Meehan (R-7) announced Thursday that he would not seek reelection for his seat in Congress from the 7th District.
"After consultation with my wife Carolyn and with my three sons, and after prayerful reflection, I write to inform you that I will not seek re-election to the United States Congress for the 7th Congressional District in 2018", the Delaware County Republican wrote Thursday in a letter to his campaign chairman.
Meehan, who had at first categorically denied the charges that he had sexually harassed the female staffer, told the Inquirer on Wednesday that he had come clean to the woman about his feelings for her, including a letter in which he appeared to admit that he had voted against Obamacare repeal at the woman's behest.
Alexis Ronickher, a lawyer for the former aide, blasted the congressman for speaking so publicly about the situation after agreeing to keep it quiet. The report, which cites unnamed sources, alleges Meehan romantically pursued the younger staffer and became angry with her when she entered a romantic relationship with another man.
"Unfortunately, recent events concerning my office and the settlement of certain harassment allegations have become a major distraction", the four-term congressman told his campaign chairman in a letter, according to The Washington Post.
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He went on to say that locals must take measures to receive flu shots and stay away from others when feeling symptoms. The Center for Disease Control is encouraging people to get a flu shot as the epidemic wreaks havoc on the nation.
Meehan was a member of the house ethics committee, which is now the committee which is investigating him.
He said he had developed strong feelings for the woman in the seven years she had worked for him, and that he reacted badly when he discovered that she had a romantic interest in another man.
The settlement, which is reported to be thousands of dollars, was kept secret.
Initially, Meehan had said he would run for a fifth term.
Meehan represents a badly contorted district criticized as being among the nation's most gerrymandered. Meehan's announcement creates another open Congressional seat in Pennsylvania this year.
Democrat Hillary Clinton narrowly won the district in the 2016 presidential election, and winning it likely becomes an even bigger target for Democrats animated by anti-Trump fervor in Philadelphia's suburbs, and more hard for Republicans.