A female Democratic candidate for Congress in Kansas announced Friday that she will drop out of her race for a 3rd-District seat following the news that she’d once been named in a lawsuit alleging that she sexually harassed a former colleague.
Andrea Ramsey had been endorsed by Emily’s List, a liberal group that helps elect women candidates who support abortion rights, the Kansas City Star reported.
The lawsuit accused Ramsey of making sexual comments toward one of her subordinates in 2005 when she was an executive vp of human resources for LabOne. When he turned down her sexual advances on a business trip in March of that year, the subordinate alleges, Ramsey started ignoring him and eventually fired him.
The subordinate, Gary Funkhouser, later filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. The agency closed that complaint without reaching a conclusion, leading Funkhouser to sue LabOne in federal court.
The company, which denied the allegations, settled with Funkhouser in 2006. He declined to talk to the Kansas City Star about the case.
In a letter announcing her decision, Ramsey said she felt she was forced out of the race even though she’d done nothing wrong.
“Let me be clear: I never engaged in any of the alleged behavior,” she wrote.
“In its rush to claim the high ground in our roiling national conversation about harassment, the Democratic Party has implemented a zero-tolerance standard,” she went on. “For me, that means a vindictive terminated employee’s false allegations are enough for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) to decide not to support our promising campaign. We are in a national moment where rough justice stands in place of careful analysis, nuance, and due process.”
In a statement, DCCC Communications Director Meredith Kelly responded, “If anyone is guilty of sexual harassment or sexual assault, that person should not hold public office.”