WASHINGTON (The Blaze/AP) -- Following allegations that he had an unwanted sexual encounter with an 18-year-old woman, Democratic Rep. David Wu of Oregon has announced that he is resigning.
Democratic leaders had called for a House Ethics investigation after the initial reports of the allegation. The Blaze covered House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi's statements here. Wu denied initial reports and has said that whatever occurred was consensual.
Wu said Tuesday the well-being of his children should come first, so he will resign after Congress resolves the debate over the debt ceiling. Here is the text of an official statement from Wu regarding the matter:
“It has been the greatest privilege of my life to be a United States Congressman. Rare is the nation in which an immigrant child can become a national political figure. I thank God and my parents for the privilege of being an American.
Now, however, the time has come to hand on the privilege of high office. I cannot care for my family the way I wish while serving in Congress and fighting these very serious allegations.
The well-being of my children must come before anything else. With great sadness, I therefore intend to resign effective upon the resolution of the debt-ceiling crisis. This is the right decision for my family, the institution of the House, and my colleagues.
It is also the only correct decision to avoid any distraction from the important work at hand in Washington. I intend to go forward with new resolve and love of family, the State of Oregon, and our nation.”
Previously, Wu spokesman, Erik Dorey, said, "He's still determining his political future, but he will not run for re-election. He's fully focused on fulfilling his elected duties and serving his constituents to the best of his duties here in the House."
Nearly all the public pressure on Wu to step down was coming from his home state rather than Capitol Hill. Mary Botkin, a former Democratic National Committee committeewoman from Portland, joined those calling for his resignation. She said she has known Wu since the 1980s but that his credibility was "so severely damaged" that he should resign.
State Democrats said they expect a state senator, Suzanne Bonamici of Beaverton, to join the two candidates already in the primary race, Labor Commissioner Brad Avakian and state Rep. Brad Witt of Clatskanie. Potential Republican nominees include sports marketing businessman Rob Cornilles, who lost to Wu last year, three state legislators and two tea party candidates from last year's primary.
The 1st Congressional District, located in Oregon's northwest corner, has been reliably Democratic since the mid-1970s. New boundaries approved this year by the state Legislature are expected to provide a small boost to Republicans.
Wu was guaranteed a stiff primary challenge after seven staffers resigned in January because of unusual behavior that included an angry public speech and a photo of himself in a tiger costume that he sent to a staff member. Wu attributed his actions to a period of mental health challenges that began in 2008 as marital issues led to separation from his wife.
Those problems paled compared to the potential fallout from the encounter with an 18-year-old California woman. Citing anonymous sources, The Oregonian reported that Wu told senior aides that the sexual encounter was consensual. The Portland paper reported Facebook notes indicated she graduated from high school in 2010 and she registered to vote in California last August.
The paper said the woman decided not to press charges against Wu because there were no witnesses and it would have been her word against Wu's.
It took several days before the scandal that enveloped former Rep. Anthony Weiner, D-N.Y., turned into a media frenzy. Wu could still face such a development if more information surfaces. But he was largely absent from lawmakers' public comments Monday.
Democratic leaders held a news conference to discuss the debt ceiling and the economy, and Wu's name did not come up once. Republicans also focused their attention on the debt ceiling, with no GOP leaders calling publicly for Wu to resign.
Wu, 56, has won seven terms. In 2004, he won despite acknowledging a decades-old college incident in which he tried to force a former girlfriend to have sex. Voters said they disliked an opponent's attempt to use that against Wu as part of a political campaign.
This is a breaking news story. Stay tuned for updates.