Farenthold won’t seek re-election; Caldwell County GOP chair agrees with decision
By Miles Smith
Editor / POST-REGISTER
U.S. Congressional District 27 Representative Blake Farenthold, whose district includes Caldwell County, has indicated that he will retire from Congress after finishing his current term and will not seek re-election.
Farenthold, a four-term congressman, announced his decision to retire on Facebook after finding himself entangled in sexual harassment allegations that have received attention from national media outlets.
“I would be forced to engage in a month-long campaign for personal vindication,” he said. “That’s not why I came to Congress. Quite simply, my constituents deserve better.”
The Texas GOP said in a statement issued Wednesday that it had granted Farenthold’s request to have his name omitted from the list of candidates seeking the Republican nomination.
Party representatives said they made the motion after attorneys representing the Secretary of State’s office affirmed that they do not have the authority to compel the Party to place a name on the ballot.
“I am pleased to be able to grant Congressman Blake Farenthold’s request to withdraw his name from the Republican primary,” state GOP chairman James Dickey said. “We look forward to electing a strong Republican to represent Texas’ 27th District in 2018.”
Last week, the congressman delivered an emotional apology during the video in which he declared he would not seek another term.
“I’d never served in public office before,” Farenthold said of the allegations in his video Thursday. “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. It accommodated destructive gossip, off-hand comments, off-color jokes and behavior that in general was less than professional.
“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 that they deserved. That was wrong. Clearly, it’s not how I was raised, it’s not who I am and for that situation, I am profoundly sorry.”
Caldwell County Republican Party chair Kathy Haigler shared her thoughts on Farenthold’s situation in a written statement she shared with the Post-Register.
“In the video he released on Dec. 14, Congressman Farenthold maintained his innocence of sexual misconduct, but he confessed to also having unprofessional behavior in his office,” Haigler wrote. “He admitted that he’s had moments of uncontrolled rage and confessed that it is wrong and said things will change in his office from now until the end of this term. At my church, we call that repentance when someone realizes they are heading the wrong direction and makes a “U-turn” in their behavior to get back on track. I’m glad we all have been allowed to repent and receive forgiveness from time to time in our lives.”
Haigler said she agreed with Farenthold’s decision not to seek re-election and said she agreed with the state GOP’s efforts to have his name removed from the ballot.
“Leaving his name on the ballot just invites voter confusion, and the good Lord knows we don’t need any more of THAT in this Congressional District 27 race!” Haigler wrote.
The Caldwell County GOP chair said she believed the congressman’s situation needed to be looked at in a broader context.
“I’ve spoken with a couple members of Congressman Farenthold’s staff at length and I’ve been on a conference call with the Congressman himself. It helps to understand all the details,” Haigler wrote. “Congressman Farenthold fired a staff member for what they refer to as “good cause” which can’t be identified because of the confidentiality clause in the signed settlement. It wasn’t until over a year later that the fired employee sued for sexual misconduct. When you sue a Congressman, you are actually suing the U.S. House of Representatives, so they have a process of their own – it was not this lady suing the Congressman himself.
|”The Office of Compliance is there for any type of claim, whether it is discrimination of a veteran, for race, gender or religious reasons, for sexual misconduct, etc. A bi-partisan committee did a thorough investigation of Congressman Farenthold over several months, including all home and work computers, phones and such. He was unanimously found “not guilty” by the bi-partisan committee.
“The Office of Compliance encouraged the lawsuit settlement of $84,000 to prevent the case from going to trial and costing more money. Congressman Farenthold still insists he is innocent of the charges, and now wishes he would have gone through to trial to completely clear his name, but that is, of course, hindsight.
“I was extremely upset to find that the $84,000 had been paid with taxpayer money. I’m extremely glad that Congressman Farenthold promised to pay the government back the $84,000 so that in the end, it will not have cost taxpayers at all.”
Appearing on the ballot in the Republican primary are Bech Bruun of Corpus Christi, Chistopher Mapp of Port O’Connor, Eddie Gassman of Corpus Christi, Jerry Hall of Corpus Christi and Michael Hall of Corpus Christi. Running for the Democratic nomination are Eric Holguin of Corpus Christi, Raul (Roy) Barrera of Corpus Christi, Ronnie McDonald of Bastrop and Vanessa Edwards Foster of Houston.