Yielding to pressure, Rep. Elizabeth Esty announced Monday that she will not seek re-election after reports that it took her three months to fire her chief of staff after she threatened to kill a former colleague.
Esty (D-Conn.), Who was first elected to the House in 2012, was attacked on Thursday after The Washington Post and other media reported allegations that Chief of Staff Tony Baker had harassed repeatedly and had once hit a subordinate, Anna Kain. , while the two worked in the Esty office.
In a statement, the legislator said it was correct to withdraw from the upcoming elections.
"I have determined that it is in the best interest of my constituents and my family would end my time in Congress at the end of this year and would not seek re-election," Esty said. "Too many women have been harmed by harassment in the workplace, in the terrible situation in my office, I could and should have done better."
Kain sought and received a one-year restraining order against Baker after he threatened to "kill" her in May 2016. voice mail message obtained by The Post. He remained in office until mid-August of that year after he and Esty negotiated a formal separation agreement that included a confidentiality agreement and a promise that he would recommend it for jobs outside of Washington. He soon got a job at Sandy Hook Promise, a group created after the massive shooting of 2012 in the district of Esty.
With his announcement, Esty became the ninth member of Congress to see his career defeated by accusations related to workplace harassment. The other eight, all men, were themselves the object of complaints of misconduct; in the case of Esty, her handling of the accusations against Baker was criticized.
The possible replacements have a long time to launch campaigns, with the deadline for submission on June 8 and the primaries on August 14. The district of Esty in western Connecticut, which includes the city of Sandy Hook, was by Hillary Clinton by less than five percentage points in 2016, making it an attractive target for Republicans.
"NRCC is ready to win this competitive seat this fall," Republican National Congressional Committee Chairman Matt Gorman said in an emailed statement. "The Democrats will not be able to distance themselves from the stain that Esty left on her brand."
Even so, until last week, the Republicans had not seriously considered the race in the 5th Congressional District. Esty had raised more than $ 1.2 million, while his main Republican rival, a former IT worker who blamed immigration policies for the loss of his job, had raised just over $ 13,000.
Meredith Kelly, the communications director of the Democratic Congressional Committee, wrote in an email that the seat is Democratic and "will undoubtedly remain that way."
Esty is the fourth member of Congress to announce his retirement, but does not resign immediately after a harassment scandal; the others are representatives Patrick Meehan (R-Pa.), Blake Farenthold (R-Tex.) and Ruben Kihuen (D-Nev.).
Connecticut's largest newspaper, the Hartford Courant, had demanded that Esty resign altogether, calling her handling of her chief of staff "colossal judgment".
"It was chosen to represent the voters, not the abusive men," said the editorial on Friday.
As the pressure increased over the weekend, Esty said several times that she would not give up. She called on Monday for the House Ethics Committee to conduct an expedited review of her actions in the Baker case, and home-based minority leader Nancy Pelosi (D-California) endorsed the request while not asking for her resignation.
Pelosi spokesman Drew Hammill said Esty informed the Democratic leader of his decision by telephone that same day.
Baker, through his friend and spokesman Andrew Ricci, denied having beaten Kain but did not question his other allegations. In a statement on Monday, he said he had apologized to everyone involved and did not expect forgiveness.
"I can only hope that my actions will progress and during a lifetime of recovery can prove that I am a better man than I had during" The duration of Sandy Hook Promise dismissed Baker last week after The Post put on in touch with him.
Kain, in a written statement, declined to comment on Esty's retirement plans and said: She hopes the outcome of her story will be more helpful to victims of harassment on the Capitol.
"It is a flawed system designed to protect powerful people and isolates and ignores those who most need protection," he said.  David Weigel contributed to this report.