A woman who had been inspired to seek office after the election of Donald Trump has said she will withdraw from a congressional race following the surfacing of sexual harassment allegations against her.
Andrea Ramsey, 56, is a retired business executive who was competing to flip Kansas’s 3rd District from Republican to Democratic during next year’s midterm elections.
Ms Ramsey is alleged to have sexually harassed, and then fired, a former subordinate.
“Twelve years ago, I eliminated an employee’s position,” Ms Ramsey said in a letter posted to Facebook on Friday. “That man decided to bring a lawsuit against the company (not against me). He named me in the allegations, claiming I fired him because he refused to have sex with me. That is a lie.”
Ms Ramsey is perhaps the only female public figure to face consequences from a sexual harassment accusation in the weeks since news outlets first began exposing sexual abuses by powerful men.
Earlier this month, the Kansas City Star newspaper asked Ms Ramsey about a 2005 lawsuit that accused her of sexually harassing a man at LabOne, where she was the executive vice president of human resources, and then firing him after he rejected her advances.
She has denied these accusations. The suit was against the company, not Ms Ramsey specifically, and was settled in 2006.
In the statement announcing her exit, Ms Ramsey blasted the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee for deciding to abandon her campaign as the allegations resurfaced.
“In its rush to claim the high ground in our roiling national conversation about harassment, the Democratic Party has implemented a zero tolerance standard,” Ms Ramsey said.
“For me, that means a vindictive, terminated employee’s false allegations are enough for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) to decide not to support our promising campaign.
“We are in a national moment where rough justice stands in place of careful analysis, nuance and due process.”