U.S. Rep. Pat Meehan will not seek reelection, he disclosed Thursday, about a week after news reports that he used taxpayer dollars to settle a former aide’s sexual harassment claim — and following the harsh response to his description of the woman as his “soul mate.”
The decision makes Meehan the latest in a string of powerful men, including other members of Congress, to lose their positions amid a national backlash against sexual harassment. It comes five days after the accusation and his secret settlement payout were first made public, and two days after interviews in which the congressman seemed to worsen the situation by attempting to defend his actions.
“After consultation with my wife, Carolyn, and with my three sons, and after prayerful reflection, I write to inform you that I will not seek re-election to the United States Congress for the Seventh Congressional District in 2018,” Meehan, a Delaware County Republican, wrote Thursday in a letter to his campaign chairman. “Today I communicated the same to the office of Speaker Paul Ryan.”