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A Former Congressman Accused Of Sexual Harassment Has Lost His Attempt At A Post-#MeToo Comeback

Kihuen, who was accused of sexual harassment by multiple women, lost the primary for a Las Vegas City Council seat by five votes.

Last updated on April 3, 2019, at 1:45 p.m. ET

Posted on April 3, 2019, at 9:30 a.m. ET

Ethan Miller / Getty Images

WASHINGTON — Former Rep. Ruben Kihuen, a Democrat who left Congress in the midst of sexual harassment accusations from multiple women, lost a bid for a Las Vegas City Council seat on Tuesday night.

Kihuen, who jumped in the race days after his congressional term ended in January, ran in a crowded field and against a campaign designed specifically to prevent him from winning the seat, “No Means No, Ruben,” a group formed to ensure that he did not make a post-#MeToo scandal comeback.

According to unofficial primary election results, they were successful; Kihuen missed out on the general election by a mere five votes. He will not request a recount, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported.

Instead two women, Olivia Diaz and Melissa Clary, who were seen as the other top-tier candidates in the race, will move on to the general election.

“With these election results, voters in Las Vegas clearly showed that they believe women, trust women, and that sexual harassment will not be tolerated from anyone,” said a joint statement from Assemblywoman Heidi Swank and Maria-Teresa Liebermann of the No Means No, Ruben PAC.

The group actively canvassed against Kihuen throughout the race, encouraging voters to vote for anyone else.

Kihuen was once considered a rising star in Democratic politics. A DREAMer and Harry Reid mentee, he was on track to have a promising career.

But his time in Congress was ended by the #MeToo Movement, when his former campaign finance director, Samantha Register, told BuzzFeed News Kihuen propositioned her for dates and sex despite repeated rejections, in addition to touching her without consent. (BuzzFeed News initially withheld Register’s full name, but she later went on the record in an op-ed about her experience.)

More women came forward to accuse Kihuen of sexual harassment, and it was in the midst of this that Kihuen, who at the time hadn’t even completed his first year in Congress yet, decided not to seek reelection.

The scandal ultimately ended in a House Ethics Committee investigation that concluded Kihuen made “persistent and unwanted advances” toward women who had to interact with him professionally. The committee also said it found Kihuen’s accusers “credible.”

Nevada political circles were shocked when in March, a shady website outing women who had accused Kihuen of sexual harassment and hadn’t come forward publicly went live. The website attempted to attack the credibility of the accusers and defend Kihuen. He distanced himself from the site and it’s still unclear who was behind it.

UPDATE

This story was updated with the news that Kihuen will not request a recount.

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