You just can’t catch a break being a Democrat in Washington these days. Or a Hill staffer being pounced upon by dirty old men…
Rep. Eric Massa (D-N.Y.) will not seek re-election after only one term in office.
According to several House aides – on both sides of the aisle – the House ethics committee has been informed of allegations that Massa, who is married with two children, sexually harassed a male staffer.
Massa, whose departure endangers Democrats’ hold on a competitive seat, told POLITICO Wednesday afternoon that no one has brought allegations of misconduct to him.
Asked about the sexual harassment allegations, Massa said: “When someone makes a decision to leave Congress, everybody says everything. I have health issues. I’ll talk about it [later].”
Massa recently suffered from non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, and he has said that his experience with cancer drove his interest in running for office so he could help reform the health care system.
A 20-year Navy veteran, Massa was elected to office last November. He serves on the Agriculture, Armed Services and Homeland Security committees.
Massa is scheduled to hold a conference call at 3:30 this afternoon to announce his decision, which came as a complete surprise to several of his freshman Democratic colleagues in the New York delegation.
As a freshman representing New York’s most Republican House district, Massa was one of the most endangered Democrats in the delegation. Republicans had been aggressively targeting his seat and landed top recruit Tom Reed, the Republican mayor of Corning, to challenge him.
Massa is now the 15th House Democrat to announce retirement plans, with 11 of them leaving districts that Republicans are aggressively contesting. House Republicans face 19 retirements within GOP ranks, but most of their departing members hail from safe seats.
More on this story as we get it!
UPDATE (from Dan): As per my Rangel post, something tells me that Mass won’t get the Foley treatment. It’s that all-purpose (D) after his name.
UP-UPDATE (from Dan): Just fixed the title. He’s retiring at the end of his term, not resigning. Now, didn’t Mark Foley resign when he got caught? Guess there are different standards for different parties. That all purpose (D) again.
UP-UP-UPDATE (from Dan): Well, looks like Bruce could see into the future. :-) Massa is going to resign.
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