State House Sound Bites

Capitol reporter Katie Meyer covers Pennsylvania politics and issues at the Pennsylvania state capitol.

Leach steps back from Congressional bid

Written by Dave Davies | Dec 18, 2017 5:48 PM
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Democratic State Senator Daylin Leach is accused of repeated inappropriate misconduct with female staffers. (Photo by AP)

(Harrisburg) -- Democratic state Senator Daylin Leach says he's "taking a step back" from his campaign for a midstate Congressional seat in the wake of allegations he behaved inappropriately toward women.

However, a staffer clarified that does not mean Leach is officially ending his run.

A report in Sunday's Philadelphia Inquirer and Philly.com said several women described inappropriate touching as well as sexually suggestive jokes and comments by the Montgomery County lawmaker. None accused him of sexual assault.

Leach does not appear ready to heed Governor Tom Wolf's call for his resignation from the Senate.

In a statement Monday, he said he plans to "focus on my family and work with Senate leaders to address these allegations and fully cooperate with them as they are all vetted." He also vowed to "take more care in my words and my actions" in the future.

It struck a more contrite tone than Leach's initial release Sunday, which blamed the allegations on a "whisper campaign" launched by "people affiliated with one of my political opponents," and questioned the validity of the accusations.

Leach is an announced candidate for the Seventh Congressional District, which includes parts of Delaware, Chester, Montgomery, Berks, and Lancaster counties. The seat is now held by Republican Congressman Pat Meehan.

David Landau, chairman of the Delaware County Democratic Committee said in a statement Sunday that Leach should suspend his Congressional campaign, and that the Senate should launch "an outside, independent investigation" of the allegations.

There are four other announced candidates for the Democratic nomination in that district. Leach would not have to seek re-election to the state Senate until 2020.

Here's Leach's full statement, released at about 2:10 p.m. Monday on his Facebook page:

All of this has gotten out of hand. News vans are now banging on our window and my family is being chased when they leave the house. So I am taking a short break from social media and from interacting on this story.

That said, I'm issuing the following statement:

"While I've always been a gregarious person, it's heartbreaking to me that I have put someone in a position that made them feel uncomfortable or disrespected. In the future I will take more care in my words and my actions, and I will make it my top priority to protect those who to speak up to help change the culture around us.

I have watched these allegations hurt my family and supporters, and respectfully ask for privacy for my family.

Today, I am taking a step back from the congressional campaign to focus on my family and work with Senate leaders to address these allegations and fully cooperate with them as they are all vetted.

I will continue to do all that I can to advance progressive causes in the Senate and represent my constituents with honor."

 

Katie Meyer contributed reporting to this story. 

Published in News, State House Sound Bites

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