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Rep. Durham Suspends Campaign For Re-election

Posted at 1:43 PM, Jul 14, 2016

Representative Jeremy Durham announced that he would be suspending his campaign for re-election following the release of an investigative report into allegations of sexual harassment.

The representative made the announcement during a brief press conference Thursday afternoon.

Durham said the vast majority of the report was false and unsupported; however some of the stories and interactions were true.

He admitted that his communication was, at times, less than professional, but continued to deny that he engaged in sexual contact or even attempted to engage in sexual contact with any of the women in the report.

"Had this investigation remotely resembled any legitimate court of law, I would have been able to specifically understand the allegations made against me, understand who made the allegation, present my own evidence cross examine witnesses and successfully refute most of the testimony. But I was purposely never given that opportunity until after the report was released," said Durham.

He pointed the finger as Speaker Beth Harwell, saying she has wanted him out of the House since December.

"Speaker Harwell ensured that I was tried and convicted in the court of public opinion before I could even read the report. Her passion to get rid of me has been completely consistent since December," said Durham.

Speaker Harwell released the following statement not long after Durham spoke:

"Representative Durham's denials are insulting to the brave women whose testimony was detailed in the report. Representative Durham needs to make absolutely clear he is not seeking re-election."

Earlier in the day, Williamson County delegation as well as other city and state officials called for Rep. Jeremy Durham to immediately suspend his campaign and publicly withdraw from the race.

“Representative Durham’s documented behavior with nearly two dozen women working in and around the General Assembly is unacceptable,” said Senator Jack Johnson. 

The report was released Wednesday revealing that he had many inappropriate interactions and relations with women during is time as a lawmaker.

The investigative report was released just two days before early primary voting begins. Durham was running for re-election. An attorney for Durham called the report politically motivated and one-sided.

Rep. Glen Casada, who serves as chair of the House Republican Caucus, has previously called on Durham to resign his seat.

“Without a criminal conviction or formal complaint, the House was limited in its ability to forcibly remove a member. The investigation revealed that the scope of his unacceptable actions was far greater than even had been rumored, and the specific testimony from so many people makes the path forward very clear: he needs to rescind his candidacy and go get professional help. Not after the election, but today," said Casada.

Rep. Marsha Blackburn released a statement in response to the report, saying Durham should no longer hold the position.

“As a mother, daughter, sister and wife, I am outraged by Representative Durham's continued behavior. As an elected official, I am bothered by a complete lack of respect for the office he holds. I have fought the good ole boys network my whole career and am disappointed to see this behavior still threaten women in 2016. While the decision ultimately rests with the voters of his district, I do not believe he is fit to serve," said Blackburn.

The committee appointed to investigate allegations against Durham said Wednesday it would not try to oust him but let the voters decide his fate.

Thursday, a group of Democratic women addressed the report.

Earlier in the year, Speaker Harwell moved Durham out of the Capitol complex and limited his access in order to protect other women.

PHOTOS: Democratic Women Address Report On Durham

The group of women called on Speaker Harwell to oust Durham on Thursday.

At that conference, Tennessee Democratic Party Chair Mary Mancini said Harwell should have acted sooner and more decisively to protect women at the Capitol.