October 20, 2008 -- The election is "effectively over" for incumbent Congressman Tim Mahoney (D-Fla.) who confessed to multiple sexual affairs after running on a campaign platform of family values, according to top campaign aides.
The national Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has quietly withdrawn their support by cancelling all ad buys for Mahoney and his Florida campaign office is down to a skeleton staff after several aides quit following Mahoney's confession last week.
Yet the Congressman plans to leave his name on the ballot and is still getting vocal support from top democrats in heavily Republican Martin County, Florida.
Democratic party chief David Dew said although he knows the revelations of Mahoney's sexual affairs will hurt him, "What he did he shouldn't have done but it is a personal thing."
But current and former aides close to Mahoney say he faces more serious problems than a lost election.
FBI agents have been studying Mahoney's financial records, the aides say, to determine if he improperly used campaign funds in a payoff to avoid a sexual harassment lawsuit from a former mistress who worked on his staff.
Sources familiar with the FBI's enquiries say even if Mahoney can prove the payoff came from personal funds as Mahoney's lawyers have told reporters, Mahoney could still face a possible grand jury investigation into whether Mahoney used public funds to employ the mistress or whether he improperly used his influence to benefit a second alleged mistress who was seeking a federal grant for the Florida county where she works.
For now Mahoney has cancelled public campaign events in Florida this week but hasn't yet suspended the airing of "positive" TV ads that were produced before the scandal.
But some weary Mahoney aides, who told ABC News they just want this race to be over, suggested the campaign might best save the money for to cover possible future "legal costs."