Accused of harassment and seeking redemption at the ballot box
By Julie Turkewitz and Alan Blinder | The New York Times
YUMA, Ariz. — In Arizona, the list of women accusing former State Representative Don Shooter of sexual harassment includes a Republican colleague, a Democratic legislator, at least two lobbyists, a newspaper intern and the former publisher of The Arizona Republic.
“I’m a sucker for the pretty ladies,” Mr. Shooter is said to have told one woman while shaking his pelvis in her face.
More than 1,000 miles to the northwest, State Representative David Sawyer, a Washington Democrat, has been accused of unwelcome advances, inappropriate remarks or other misconduct by at least eight women, including former legislative aides and a lobbyist he asked to be his “arm candy.”
Almost a year into an anti-harassment movement that has prompted a coast-to-coast cultural reckoning, Mr. Shooter and Mr. Sawyer are among more than a dozen politicians who have been accused of misconduct and are running for state legislatures again anyway.
Among them are a Kentucky legislator accused of sending racy text messages to an aide, a Pennsylvania lawmaker involved in a six-figure sexual harassment settlement and a Wisconsin representative accused of forcible kissing.
Some candidates hope that voters will accept their apologies. Others believe constituents will dismiss the allegations as untrue — or deem them unimportant at a time when state legislatures could play crucial roles either in advancing the Trump administration’s agenda or forming bulwarks against it.
“I say stupid stuff, I admit it, big deal — I admitted it in my apology,” said Mr. Shooter, who believes Arizonans will vote for him because he has promised to root out corruption.