Texas Republican Rep Won't Seek Re-Election Following Sexual Harassment Allegations

ep. Blake Farenthold, who's under fire for accusations of sexual harassment, is not planning to run for re-election, he said in a video Thursday.

"I'd never served in office before. I had no idea how to run a congressional office. And as a result, I allowed a workplace culture to take root in my office that was too permissive and decidedly unprofessional," the Texas Republican said in the video published Thursday afternoon. "I understand fully that this issue has become a political distraction and I would be forced to engage in a monthlong campaign for personal vindication. Quite simply, my constituents deserve better. Therefore I'm announcing my decision not to run for re-election."

Farenthold acknowledged previous reports about the inappropriate culture of his office and apologized.

    "It accommodated destructive gossip, offhand comments, off-color jokes and behavior that in general was less than professional," he said. "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 they deserved. That was wrong."

    He continued: "I'm profoundly sorry."

    House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wisconsin, spoke with Farenthold twice late Wednesday. Rep. Steve Stivers, the Ohio Republican who chairs the House campaign arm, also met with Farenthold.

    "Look, I had a couple of conversations with Blake Farenthold," Ryan said at his weekly news conference. "I think he's making the right decision to retire. There are new stories that are disconcerting. Unacceptable behavior has been alleged in those stories. And I think he's made the right decision that he's leaving Congress. And that reflects on the conversations we've had."