State GOP lawmaker declines to resign, says he won’t serve another term if re-elected
YAKIMA, Wash. (AP) — Despite Republican leaders calling on Washington lawmaker Rep. Matt Manweller to resign in the wake of new sexual misconduct allegations, Manweller said Monday he will finish his term but will not serve another if re-elected in November.
Manweller, whose name cannot be removed from the November ballot, said in a statement that it’s important he’s re-elected so the seat can be filled with another Republican when he resigns, the Yakima Herald-Republic reported .
“The last year has been incredibly difficult for my family,” he said in the statement. “Politics can be a very nasty endeavor which we have come to learn that firsthand.”
On Friday, The Northwest News Network reported that a former Idaho high school student of Manweller’s said she had a sexual relationship with him in the 1990s, when she was 17.
Under Idaho state law at the time, sex between an adult male and a girl younger than 18 constituted statutory rape.
Manweller has acknowledged that he taught the woman at a high school in Hailey, Idaho, but denies that he had a sexual relationship with her when she was 17.
“As the Kavanaugh hearings have shown, there is no limit on how far back in time one can go to dig up such allegations,” Manweller said in the statement, referring to recent sexual misconduct allegations against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.
The unnamed woman has said she came forward in part because of his response to an investigation finding Manweller engaged in a pattern of unprofessional and inappropriate behavior at Central Washington University.
The university subsequently fired the political-science professor last month. Manweller, of the Ellensburg area, has vehemently denied the allegations and is suing for wrongful termination.
House Republican leaders on Friday evening called on Manweller to resign.
Manweller has been in the Legislature since 2012 and was assistant floor leader in the House until GOP leaders asked him to step down from that position last year.
He received 63 percent of the vote in last month’s primary, well ahead of Democratic candidate Sylvia Hammond.
Washington State Democratic Party Chair Tina Podlodowski on Monday called for Manweller to resign immediately and cease his campaign.
“Matt Manweller knows he is in the wrong, she said. “Enough is enough.”