Stung by allegations of sexual harassment, Nevada Rep. Ruben Kihuen said Saturday that he will not seek re-election.
The first-time Democratic congressman made the announcement a day after the House Ethics Committee said it had opened an investigation into allegations that he sexually harassed a former campaign aide and a lobbyist.
“I want to state clearly again that I deny the allegations in question,” said the 37-year-old Kihuen.
“However, the allegations that have surfaced would be a distraction from a fair and thorough discussion of the issues in a reelection campaign. Therefore, it is in the best interests of my family and my constituents to complete my term in Congress and not seek reelection.”
Several top Democrats, including House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, had been urging Kihuen to resign since the initial sexual misconduct allegations against him surfaced in a BuzzFeed News story on Dec. 1.
Kihuen was accused of making several unwanted sexual advances toward a 25-year-old finance director.
Buzzfeed reported that Kihuen preyed on the woman during the 2016 — repeatedly asking her whether or not she would cheat on her boyfriend, touching her thighs without her consent and suggesting the two of them get a hotel room together.
A second woman has come forward in recent days, accusing Kihuen of touching her inappropriately and sending suggesting text messages.
“What color are your panties?” he wrote in one of the missives to the female lobbyist, according to the Nevada Independent.
In announcing his plans to leave office, Kihuen becomes the fifth member of Congress in just the past two weeks whose political career has been torpedoed by sexual misconduct allegations.