Meehan Not Running for Re-Election Following Sexual Harassment Allegations

Pennsylvania Republican accused of using taxpayer money in a settlement

Pennsylvania Rep. Patrick Meehan will not be running for a fifth term. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)
Pennsylvania Rep. Patrick Meehan will not be running for a fifth term. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)
Posted January 25, 2018 at 9:29pm

Rep. Patrick Meehan will not run for re-election, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported Thursday. The Pennsylvania Republican had been accused of sexual harassment and using taxpayer funds to settle a misconduct case with a former staffer.

The Inquirer reported that Meehan wrote a letter to his campaign chairman about his decision. His office did not respond to a request for comment.

Ohio Rep. Steve Stivers, the chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee, effectively confirmed the news Thursday night, saying in a statement, “While I’m disappointed by the circumstances leading to Congressman Meehan’s retirement, I thank him for his dedication to his district. We must always hold ourselves to the highest possible standard — especially while serving in Congress.”

Less than one week ago, The New York Times first reported that Meehan had used taxpayer money to settle with the former aide.

The fourth-term congressman did a handful of interviews earlier this week, admitting that he told the staffer he felt they were soul mates. But he also said he did not pursue a romantic or sexual relationship with her.

Watch: Former Congresswomen Reflect on Sexual Harassment Issues

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Meehan had initially said in an interview with the Inquirer on Tuesday that he was still running for re-election. But one GOP source in Pennsylvania said he was reconsidering his decision after the various media interviews.

Democrats were already targeting Meehan’s 7th District, since Hillary Clinton carried it by 2 points in 2016. A number of Democrats have launched bids for the swing seat.

One Pennsylvania GOP source said that local Republican leaders in Delaware County have discussed recruiting a woman with a prosecutorial background to run for Meehan’s seat. Meehan himself was a former federal prosecutor and district attorney in Delaware County.

Another Republican source listed a handful of local officials as potential contenders, including state Sen. Tom McGarrigle, former Delaware County Council Chairman Mario Civera, and state Reps. Alex Charlton and Nick Miccarelli.

Further complicating the race for Meehan’s seat is uncertainty about the district’s boundaries. The Pennsylvania Supreme Court tossed out the congressional map this week in a case that alleged extreme partisan gerrymandering.

The GOP-led legislature has requested a stay with the U.S. Supreme Court, but the plaintiffs are confident the decision would stand. They’ve argued the U.S. Supreme Court is not likely to step in because the case was decided under the state — not the federal — constitution.