Yet another Democrat has been accused of sexual harassment, but this time his party didn’t hesitate to call for the resignation of first term Nevada Rep. Ruben Kihuen.
Kihuen was accused by his campaign finance director, known only as Samantha, of making unwanted sexual advances and asking for dates that were continually rejected, Buzzfeed reported on Friday.
Samantha, who quit the campaign because she said she was uncomfortable, also said that Kihuen touched her thigh twice.
“The staff member in question was a valued member of my team. I sincerely apologize for anything that I may have said or done that made her feel uncomfortable. I take this matter seriously as it is not indicative of who I am. I was raised in a strong family that taught me to treat women with the utmost dignity and respect. I have spent my fifteen years in public service fighting for women’s equality, and I will continue to do so,” Kihuen said in a statement to Buzzfeed.
But, unlike long serving Sen. Al Franken and Rep. John Conyers, as a first term representative Kihuen is an easy sacrificial lamb and Democrats wasted no time turning on him.
“In Congress, no one should face sexual harassment in order to work in an office or in a campaign. The young woman’s documented account is convincing, and I commend her for the courage it took to come forward,” Rep. Nancy Pelosi said in a statement on Saturday. “In light of these upsetting allegations, Congressman Kihuen should resign.”
Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee chair Ben Ray Luján also called for Kihuen’s resignation.
“Members and candidates must be held to the highest standard. If anyone is guilty of sexual harassment or sexual assault, they should not hold elected office. Congressman Kihuen should resign,” he told Buzzfeed in a statement.
Samantha told Buzzfeed that Kihuen walked her to her car on Feb. 6, 2016, after they attended a fundraiser, when he first allegedly asked her out.
“He followed me to my car and said, ‘You look really good, I’d like to take you out if you didn’t work for me,'” she said.
She told him she had a boyfriend and she left, but his advances allegedly continued in the following weeks.
Samantha described the events to Buzzfeed:
On Feb. 19, Samantha says she accompanied Kihuen to a meeting with Rep. Tony Cárdenas at the Aria Hotel. Cárdenas was in town to support presidential candidate Hillary Clinton ahead of the Nevada caucuses. Cárdenas’ office confirmed that he and his wife stayed in the hotel that weekend. In the elevator on the way to the meeting, Samantha said Kihuen told her, “We should get a hotel room here.”
“I said ‘no’ very firmly and he just laughed at me. It was humiliating,” she told BuzzFeed News.
Kihuen drove on the way back from the meeting to their campaign office, with Samantha in the passenger seat. Samantha said Kihuen again asked if she’d ever cheated on her boyfriend, and started touching her thigh. She told him to stop, and said she said “no” and began talking about her boyfriend.
A separate time, in March, Kihuen asked for help with something on the computer during “call time” — when a candidate makes fundraising calls — and Samantha alleges he grabbed the back of her thigh while she looked at the screen.
“I asked him what he was doing and he stopped.” Samantha left the campaign soon after.
Kihuen, who was endorsed by Hillary Clinton, has given no indication that he will resign.
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