Republican Leaders Ask ForDurham's Resignation

Posted at 6:57 PM, Jan 25, 2016
and last updated 2016-01-25 21:08:01-05

Embattled Tennessee State lawmaker Jeremy Durham sat down with NewsChannel 5 Monday, saying he won't be answering to Republican leaders' requests for resignation.

Leaders in the Republican Party want him to resign from his seat in the House.

Rep. Durham said, "I will definitely take this to the voters, and it would not be appropriate to do that.  I know my district very well. I got elected in 2012.  I think this is a decision for voters, not the Tennessean, the Democratic Party.  The people of Williamson County should decide that."

Monday House Speaker Beth Harwell and GOP Chairman Ryan Haynes said Durham should step down.

Rep. Harwell said, "I think that it is ultimately his decision.  I think that I've made my feelings clear.  I think he needs help, and I think it would be in his best interest."

Republican Party Chairman Ryan Haynes said, "In light of these recent revelations I do think it's important that Representative Durham step down from his position as a member of this body so that the legislators can continue to focus on the important work that Tennesseans expect us to focus on."
Rep. Durham spoke to us from his legislative district, which includes Franklin.
He said the accusations against him are three years old, and he's disappointed that his own party is making a rush to judgement.
Over the weekend Durham resigned his leadership position. He was House Majority Whip.

Durham said he resigned from the position because recent events have been a distraction  to the Republican caucus.

He was under fire for a prescription fraud investigation in 2013, but a grand jury refused to indict him.

Durham was also under scrutiny for a letter of recommendation he wrote for a youth pastor who admitted to possessing child porn. 

Then Sunday came the allegations in the Tennessean Durham sent inappropriate late night text messages to three women who work on capitol hill.

That was also three years ago.

Rep. Durham said, "I know for a fact I've never sexually harassed anybody.  If I've sent a text message that I shouldn't have, and someone will present it to me I'm happy to address it, and I'll take responsibility."

The women mentioned in the article were anonymous. They have not come forward, and they've not filed sexual harassment complaints.

Rep. Durham said, "People who speak to the media anonymously often times have a motive.  I'm not saying that's the case here.  Again, if I have done something wrong I will accept responsibility, but I'd like to know what that is especially since it's anonymous, it's vague and it's three years ago. I think it's only fair that I be able to see it, because of those factors."

Durham said he has asked several times for copies of the text messages in questions, but no one has presented any evidence.

He said during the next few days he is going to take some time off to be with his family, and then he'll focus on winning re-election.