Republicans and Democrats are preparing for more sex allegations as candidates in several must-win races for Democrats have already been affected – allegations insider Roger Stone recently suggested are on the way.
“This is something that cannot just derail a campaign, but as we’ve seen … can also impact other candidates running for other offices, and that’s something that they’re mindful of as well,” said Doug Heye, a former spokesman for the Republican National Committee.
The latest Democrat to feel the impact of sexual assault allegations is freshman Nevada Representative Ruben Kihuen, who announced he would not seek reelection following claims from a former campaign aide that he reportedly propositioned for sex and dates despite repeated refusals. In addition, a lobbyist has come forward accusing him of inappropriately touching her thighs and buttocks while he was a state senator.
Kihuen represents Nevada’s 4th Congressional district, a swing district stretching from the Las Vegas metropolitan area into rural areas in the central part of state. Hillary Clinton carried the district by five points in 2016, while Kihuen defeated incumbent Republican Representative Cresent Hardy by four points after Hardy had defeated a Democratic incumbent in 2014.
Over in the Senate, Minnesota Senator Al Franken’s impending resignation due to assault allegations has caused Governor Mark Dayton to appoint his Lieutenant Governor, Tina Smith, to fill the seat until a special election is held in 2018. While Smith intends to run to complete Franken’s term, numerous Republicans are considering entering the race, turning what was thought to be a safe Democratic seat into a toss-up.
In addition to incumbents, several candidates challenging Republicans in must-win races have been rocked by sexual assault allegations.
In Kansas, businesswoman Andrea Ramsey announced she was dropping out of the race against Republican Representative Kevin Yoder after a report from 2005 emerged detailing a lawsuit filed by a male employee of her company alleging he was fired after refusing her sexual advances.
While Clinton carried the Kansas City-based 3rd Congressional district by around one percent, Yoder handedly won reelection by over ten percent.
Pennsylvania state Senator Daylin Leach has announced he is “stepping back” from his campaign to unseat Representative Patrick Meehan after allegations he inappropriately touched and made sexual jokes towards female staffers. Pennsylvania’s Governor, Democrat Tom Wolf, has called for Leach to resign from office.
Meehan, a top target for Democrats as Clinton won his district, won reelection by over 19 points in a district based in the Philadelphia suburbs.