CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – State Rep. Abel Herrero of Robstown says U.S. Rep. Blake Farenthold should resign immediately, rather than see out the rest of his term before quitting.
Farenthold, a four-term Republican congressman from Corpus Christi, has faced sexual harassment allegations and on Monday said he would not seek re-election. However, his name will still be on the ballot for the March, 2018, primary.
“Given the growing number of allegations against Congressman Blake Farenthold, I urge him to resign effective immediately from his position as Representative of U.S. House District 27,” said Herrero, D-Robstown.
“He has used $84,000 of taxpayer funds to silence the accusations of sexual harassment and creating a hostile work environment. Moreover, he is now embroiled in an official ongoing sexual harassment investigation.
“Because the people of District 27 do, in his own words, “deserve better”, they deserve it now. In the people’s best interest, Rep. Farenthold should relinquish his seat immediately, reimburse taxpayers, and make way for a congressional member who will make Texas proud.”
Mike Bergsma, chairman of the Nueces County Republican Party, said he was sorry to see Farenthold exit the race. “It’s a damn shame,” Bergsma told the USA Today Network. “He’s been an excellent congressman, and I’m sorry this has happened. One wonders whether anyone could have survived scrutiny that intense.”
Through a video, Farenthold issued this statement:
As you all may know, this week was my 56th birthday. And I’m fortunate enough share that birthday with my youngest daughter. And with every birthday, you take time to reflect on the past and take inventory of the future. I’ve been truly blessed with having such a wonderful family. My wife Debbie and our two daughters, Morgan and Amanda, have given me nothing less than their complete devotion and support through some of the tough decisions I’ve had to make in the course of the past seven years as a member of Congress. And when we gathered together recently for Thanksgiving, our decision was unanimous: I should run for another term because there’s still work to be done.
You know, I’d expected a tough primary campaign in the months ahead. And the truth is, I was looking forward to it. I wanted the opportunity to explain myself and the broken system in Washington that, in many ways, has left me in the position I’m in. I welcomed it so I could address some of the concerns and discuss ways I hope we could make America better for everyone. As a representative of the people, it’s inherently necessary that our government institutions, including the House of Representatives, are as transparent as possible. I did not create the broken system we’re working in and I want to change it. Change is what propelled me to run for Congress, joining with 80 new members of Congress elected in 2010. Most of us ran on a platform vowing to change how Washington works, to change the status quo that for too many years has left the average American behind. We’re not professional politicians. We’re small business men and women, doctors, police officers, veterans and we all wanted change.
I’d never served in public office before. I had no idea how to run a congressional office and as a result, I’d allowed a workplace culture to take root in my office that was too permissive, and decidedly unprofessional. It accommodated destructive gossip, offhand comments, off color jokes and behavior that, in general, was less than professional. And I allowed the personal stress of the job to manifest itself in angry outbursts and, too often, a failure to treat people with the respect that they deserved. That was wrong. Clearly, it’s not how I was raised, it’s not who I am and for that situation, I am profoundly sorry. An unprofessional work environment is not a crime, but it’s embarrassing to me and to my family. It reflects poorly on the institution of Congress, on my colleagues and my constituents and they deserved better.
In recent weeks, there’s been a renewed focus on the allegations that were made against me by a former employee several years ago. I want to be perfectly clear. The charges that were made are false. Now there’s no special prosecutor on Capitol Hill, but the closest thing to a special prosecutor is the Office of Congressional Ethics. That bi-partisan panel conducted a month-long investigation into the allegations against me several years ago and it came to the unanimous conclusion that there was a lack of evidence to support this very serious accusation. In spite of this, I understand fully that this issue has become a political distraction and that I would be forced to engage in a month-long campaign for personal vindication. That’s not why I came to Congress. Quite simply, my constituents deserve better. They deserve a primary campaign that’s focused on the serious issues facing our country and our state and fixing a broken system. Therefore, I’m announcing my decision not to run for reelection.
Let me just say, I’m proud of the work I’ve done in my office and what we’ve accomplished. We’ve worked to reduce the size of the federal government and our irresponsible national debt. We’ve ushered through Congress legislation to provide much needed oversight of government agencies that have been wrought with allegations of fraud and abuse and we’ve reduced regulatory burdens on America. We fought to lower tax burdens on our constituents and fought even members of our own party to ensure Texas received the proper amount of disaster relief funding. The work continues on all of these issues. And I intend on devoting the remainder of my term to working on them. I am resolved over the coming days and weeks and months to institute meaningful changes in my official office. I owe that to everyone–my constituents, my family and this institution.
To my wonderful family, thank you for being there for me always. To my staff, y’all are the lifeblood of the office and I thank you for putting in the long hours, both in Washington and in Texas. Nothing of what we accomplished could have been made possible without y’all. And finally to the people of the 27th Congressional District of Texas: thank you. In giving me your vote, you also bestowed your trust in me to do what was best for our country and I thank you for that. God bless you all. Thanks.
Farenthold surprisingly beat U.S. Rep. Solomon Ortiz, D-Corpus Christi, in the 2010 general election. It was a year that saw many Congressional Republicans pull off surprise victories to help wrestle back control of the U.S. House for the GOP. At that point Congressional District 27 included Cameron and Willacy counties. However, following redistricting in 2011, District 27 was drastically reshaped and no longer included the Rio Grande Valley.
The Republicans on the ballot for Congressional District 27 are: Bech Bruun, Blake Farenthold, Christopher K.Mapp, Eddie Gassman, Jerry Hall, John Grundwald, and Michael Cloud. The Democrats on the ballot are: Eric Holguin. Raul (Roy) Barrera, Ronnie McDonald, Vanessa and Edwards Foster.