Pennsylvania

Leach 'taking a step back' from congressional campaign

State senator wants to focus on family

WAYNE, Pa. - A Pennsylvania state senator is "taking a step back" from his campaign for Congress amid allegations that he behaved inappropriately toward female employees and campaign aides.

State Sen. Daylin Leach made the announcement Monday afternoon, saying that he wants "to focus on my family and work with Senate leaders to address these allegations and fully cooperate as they are all vetted."

Leach is a Democratic candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives in the state's 7th District, which includes most of Delaware County along with parts of Berks, Chester, Lancaster, and Montgomery counties.

The Philadelphia Inquirer quoted former party, campaign and legislative aides, some anonymously, who accused the 56-year-old of behavior ranging from making sexualized jokes and comments to touching they considered inappropriate.

"While I've always been a gregarious person, it's heartbreaking to me that I have put someone in a position that made them feel uncomfortable or disrespected," Leach said in his statement Monday. "In the future I will take more care in my words and my actions, and I will make it my top priority to protect those who to speak up to help change the culture around us.

"I have watched these allegations hurt my family and supporters, and respectfully ask for privacy for my family."

In a post on his personal Facebook page, Leach blamed the accusations on an unnamed political opponent.

"Politics is, sadly, an ugly business," he said. "And given the current atmosphere, these sorts of fishing expeditions into everyone's pasts are likely to become standard. That’s a shame. I worry that we risk weaponizing and trivializing a long overdue and critically important movement that is just starting to gain steam."

Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf called for Leach to resign from the state Senate within hours of the Inquirer publishing the story Sunday.

Leach, who represents Delaware and Montgomery counties in Harrisburg, has been a state lawmaker since 2003.


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