The drumbeat of negative headlines has apparently become too much for Blake Farenthold: The Texas GOP congressman is withdrawing from his run for re-election and will not participate in the Republican primary on March 6, reports USA Today. Farenthold's office has not officially announced the move, but news is dribbling out to local party officials. Politico and ABC affiliate Crossroads Today confirm the development. Farenthold has come under fire in the #MeToo movement, with former staffers complaining that he runs an office where lewd comments and behavior are the norm.
The House ethics panel previously announced an investigation, and CNN added to the stockpile on Wednesday with an interview of former senior aide Michael Rekola. The aide says he finally quit after Farenthold made lewd jokes in front of everyone about Rekola's future sex life as Rekola was getting set to leave town to get married. Farenthold denies it. Rekola maintains that it's just one small example of an atmosphere that eventually made him physically ill. (Farenthold reportedly used public funds to settle a sexual harassment complaint made by a former female staffer.)