Amid sexual misconduct claims, Rep. Kihuen says he won't seek re-election in 2018

PHOTO: Rep.-elect Ruben Kihuen, right, speaks with reporters as Sen. Harry Reid, left, listens on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., Nov. 14, 2016.PlayCliff Owen/AP, FILE
WATCH Nevada Democrat accused of sexual misconduct says he won't resign

Facing multiple allegations of sexual misconduct, Rep. Ruben Kihuen, D-Nev., has announced his decision not to seek re-election in 2018.

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“The allegations that have surfaced would be a distraction from a fair and thorough discussion of the issues in a re-election campaign,” Kihuen said in a statement Saturday. “Therefore, it is in the best interests of my family and my constituents to complete my term in Congress and not seek re-election.”

On Friday the House Ethics committee announced its intention to launch an investigation into allegations made against Kihuen, who was elected to his first term last year. He has repeatedly denied allegations of sexual misconduct.

“I want to state clearly again that I deny the allegations in question. I am committed to fully cooperating with the House Ethics Committee, and I look forward to clearing my name,” he said.

In the statement, Kihuen, 37, said he will serve through the end of his term.

A former Kihuen campaign aide, known only as “Samantha,” told a midlevel aide at the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee that she quit her job because then-candidate Kihuen made her “uncomfortable,” BuzzFeed reported. On Saturday, The Nevada Independent reported that a 24-year-old lobbyist said he “made unwanted overtures and asked overly personal questions of her this fall while his campaign was a client of her firm.”

Additional reporting by John Parkinson