A Pennsylvania lawmaker who is the subject of a protective order against him by another lawmaker over claims he was violent and abusive toward her announced Wednesday he won't run for re-election.
A week after insisting he would stay in the race, Republican Rep. Nick Miccarelli said it was a difficult decision to abandon his campaign for a sixth term, but said he made it so he and his family can "move on to the next chapter in our lives."
A fellow Republican, Rep. Tarah Toohil, alleged Miccarelli hit her and pulled a gun on her during a relationship that ended in 2012 and had been physically intimidating her at the Capitol this year.
She filed a complaint with the House on Feb. 8 and, at a court hearing in Wilkes-Barre last week, obtained a three-year protection-from-abuse order against Miccarelli that requires him to keep his distance from her as well as give up his firearms.
Miccarelli, a 35-year-old Iraq War veteran from Delaware County, denied wrongdoing and was defiant after the hearing, saying he planned to run for another term and "leave this to the voters."
A second accuser, a political consultant, has claimed that after she ended their relationship in 2014, Miccarelli went to her house and forced her to have sex. He denied the allegation, calling her and Toohil his former girlfriends with whom he had "consensual sexual relations" before his recent marriage.
Miccarelli continued to maintain his innocence Wednesday.
"My decision not to seek re-election should in no way be misconstrued by the public or misrepresented by the media as any admission of wrongdoing on my part," he said in a statement released by his spokesman. "I intend to continue to work to clear my good name and reputation and put this current controversial situation behind me, once and for all."
In a petition filed with the court, Toohil, 38, of Luzerne County, wrote that Miccarelli threatened to kill her and hit, pinched and kicked her during their relationship in 2011 and 2012. She also alleged Miccarelli has physically intimidated her in the Capitol this year by walking past her office, standing by her desk on the floor of the House and stalking and staring at her. Miccarelli carried a gun in the House, she added.
House investigators found Toohil and the second accuser to be credible, according to portions of their report released by Toohil's lawyers last week.
Both women have been interviewed by the Dauphin County district attorney's office. No charges against Miccarelli have been filed.
House Republican leaders and Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf have called on Miccarelli to resign his seat.
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