WASHINGTON – New York Republican Representative Tom Reed apologized Sunday to a woman who accused him of touching her inappropriately and said he would not run for political office in 2022, including governor.
in the a long statementReed apologized to a former lobbyist, Nicolette Davis, whose allegation was that the Congressman groped her during a 2017 political trip reported on Friday by the Washington Post. Mr Reed said that he took “full responsibility” for the episode and that it “occurred at a time in my life when I was struggling with an alcohol addiction”.
“Although I am only hearing about this matter now, as stated by Ms. Davis in the article, I hear her voice and I am not going to fire her,” said Reed, 49. “In reflection, my personal portrayal of this event is irrelevant. Simply put, I was causing her pain, showing her disrespect, and being unprofessional. I was wrong, I am sorry and I take full responsibility. “
Prior to Ms. Davis’ allegation, Mr. Reed was publicly debating whether to run for governor in 2022 when Democrat Governor Andrew M. Cuomo was besieged by a wave of allegations of sexual harassment and other misconduct. Mr Reed also said on Sunday that he would not stand for re-election, referring to the promise to only serve six terms given to voters in his first election in 2010.
Ms. Davis told The Post that as a 25-year-old lobbyist for Aflac insurance company, Mr. Reed fingered her after a day of ice fishing with donors, politicians and lobbyists in an Irish pub in Minneapolis. While he was drunk, Mr. Reed put his hand on her back, she said, untying her bra through her blouse and moving his hand over her thigh before Ms. Davis asked the man next to her to intervene.
After their allegations were made public on Friday, Mr. Reed said in a statement that the “account of my actions is incorrect” but did not directly elaborate or deny the encounter.
Mr Reed was on a short list for New York Republicans thinking of challenging Mr Cuomo, who was politically weakened by the sexual harassment scandal and controversy over his government’s handling of state nursing homes during the coronavirus pandemic.
ON Quinnipiac University survey The study released Thursday found that Mr. Cuomo’s approval rating had dropped to 39 percent, the lowest level in his ten-year tenure. Worse for the governor’s prospects for the future was the finding that two-thirds of voters did not want Mr Cuomo to seek a fourth term next year, while only 25 percent did.
Such results have given hope to Republicans, who have not won a statewide election in nearly two decades. Even before Mr. Cuomo’s first accuser, Lindsey Boylan, came forward, Mr. Reed had told Fox News in February that he was “seriously considerEnema.
“We have been asked by many people to do this for months because they appreciate the way I rule,” he said.
Mr. Reed who was easily re-elected in November in a large borough spanning much of the New York border with Pennsylvania was seen as a more moderate option than other possible candidates for governor, such as Representative Elise Stefanik, a close ally of former President Donald J. Trump. Mr. Reed, the co-chair of the non-partisan Problem Solvers Caucus, had built a reputation for centrist willingness to reach out to the aisle to break the partisan deadlock and brokerage.
“As a proud Republican, I want to do everything I can – and I work with proud Democrats – to bring people together to try to win hearts and minds based on ideas and influence them from political perspectives,” said Reed in January.
With the apparent departure of Mr Reed from the political scene, so far Republicans have only had one prominent official who has expressed interest: Long Island representative Lee Zeldin, who said in early March that he was considering a campaign to oust Mr Cuomo.
Late Sunday, New York Republican Party leader Nick Langworthy praised Mr. Reed for “taking real responsibility for his actions” and wishing him “continued strength” in his battle against alcohol problems.
“I think he made the right decision,” Langworthy said, “and I hope this can bring peace to Ms. Davis, who has made very grave allegations that deserve to be heard.”
Mr Reed was first elected to Congress in 2010 and triumphed in a special election after Congressman Eric Massa, a Democrat, resigned when he was investigated into the sexual harassment of his male congressional aides.