A woman from Kansas running for a seat in the House in the 2018 midterm elections abruptly dropped out of the race on Friday as sexual harassment claims from 2005 resurfaced. Andrea Ramsey, a former human resources executive in the private sector, has been seen as the chief Democratic contender to unseat U.S. Representative Kevin Yoder, a Republican incumbent from the state’s third district.
But on Friday, The Kansas City Star reported that Ramsey will be dropping out of the race over accusations that she sexually harassed a subordinate male employee in 2005 while working as an executive vice president of human resources at LabOne. According to a lawsuit filed by the former employee, Gary Funkhouser, Ramsey had retaliated against him and then fired him after he declined her alleged repeated sexual advances. Funkhouser eventually dropped the case, but the Star reports that he did so because he reached a settlement with the company.
Ramsey, who is 56 and was making her first foray into politics, has denied any wrongdoing and blamed her fate on the Democratic party’s “rush to claim the high ground in our roiling national conversation about harassment.” In a lengthy Facebook post, Ramsey pointed out the difficulty of making the leap from private life to public service. “My sharpest contrast with Rep. Yoder is that I have led a real life, not a life calculated for photo ops and political gain,” she wrote, and then went on to blast her opponents who “have chosen to use these false allegations against me for political purposes, not only engaging in a whisper campaign, but also contacting political and news organizations. These false allegations are disgraceful and demean the moment this country is in.”
Ultimately, though, Ramsey said her fate was sealed by the Democratic party’s rush to judgment with sexual harassment accusations. In recent weeks the U.S. Congress has seen the departure of civil rights icon John Conyers and Senator Al Franken, both amid sexual harassment scandals.
“In its rush to claim the high ground in our roiling national conversation about harassment, the Democratic Party has implemented a zero tolerance standard,” Ramsey wrote on Facebook. “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,” she wrote.