The decision marks the capstone of a tumultuous few months for the four-term congressman, who has been dogged by sexual harassment allegations.
“While I planned on serving out the remainder of my term in Congress, I know in my heart it’s time for me to move along and look for new ways to serve,” he said in a statement.
He previously announced his retirement in December, a move that created an open-seat race to succeed him. Former Texas Water Board Development Chairman Bech Bruun and former Victoria GOP Chairman Michael Cloud are in a Republican runoff to replace him in the two-year term beginning next January.
If Farenthold quits, the governor will call a special election to fill the seat, the winner of which would serve until early January 2019.
In 2014, Lauren Greene, Farenthold’s former communications director, sued the congressman alleging gender discrimination, sexual harassment and a hostile work environment. Both parties agreed to drop the case in 2015, but the terms of the settlement were not clear at the time. Last year, Politico reported that the little-known Office of Compliance had covered an $84,000 settlement to Greene in that case. Farenthold at first pledged to reimburse the federal government for the settlement cost but later became more circumspect about when he would do so.
He will gladly pay Congress next Tuesday for money to settle harassment claims today.
Farenthold, meanwhile, faces an investigation by the U.S. House Ethics Committee over the harassment allegations, along with questions about whether he used official resources for his re-election and if he made false statements to the committee.
I heard The Atlantic is in the market for a Conservative Voice that will make readers Think. Apparently they sit there almost comatose unless they’re poked.
Former Rep. Farenthold’s complete statement: