Just two weeks after he won a hard-fought Republican primary in Indiana to keep his seat, Rep. Mark Souder will resign his office. Fox News reports that an affair with a staffer has become publicly known, and Souder will exit rather than face an Ethics Committee investigation (via Dave Weigel):
Eight-term Rep. Mark Souder will announce his resignation Tuesday after it came to light that he was conducting an affair with a female staffer who worked in his district office, Fox News has learned.
Multiple senior House sources indicated that the extent of the affair would have landed Souder before the House Ethics Committee.
Elected as a family values conservative as part of the Republican revolution in 1994, Souder survived a tough re-election challenge in 2008 and survived a contested primary two weeks ago.
Say, wouldn’t it have been a good idea to make this decision three weeks ago?
Souder’s abrupt exit puts the GOP in a tough position. Someone will have to peruse Indiana’s state laws to see if the Republicans can select a replacement candidate for the November ballot, and what the process might be. Bob Thomas came in second to Souder, about 11,000 votes behind him and 15,000 ahead of Phil Troyer. If the GOP can make a ballot switch, the logical choice would be Thomas, but that’s a big if. They may have to go with a write-in campaign.
The Fox report makes mention of Eric Massa and the scandal surrounding his resignation. Will this be the equivalent? If it was a completely consensual affair, probably not. Massa was behaving in a predatory manner, and the Democratic leadership appears to have deliberately turned a blind eye to it. Barring any further revelations, this looks like run-of-the-mill hypocrisy, which is unfortunately found in abundance in Washington DC.
Update: How could this have happened? As usual, South Park is way ahead of us. Could it be … aliens?
Update II: According to a later report by Dave Weigel, the Indiana GOP can replace Souder at the state convention next month.
Update III: Could the GOP have a handy replacement already? Rightosphere notes that Marlin Stutzman — who came in a surprising second to Dan Coats in the Senate primary — lives in Souder’s district.
Update IV: This could get a Chutzpah Award: Souder’s mistress videotaped an interview with Souder discussing … his support for abstinence education.