Connecticut's Esty Won't Run After Mishandling Harassment Claim

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(Bloomberg) -- Democratic U.S. Representative Elizabeth Esty of Connecticut said Monday she won’t seek re-election in November following reports that she waited for three months to dismiss a staffer who was accused of punching and threatening another aide whom he had dated.

Esty was criticized by some Democrats as well as Republicans for her handling of the misconduct allegations in 2016 against her then-chief of staff, Tony Baker. The Connecticut Post and the Washington Post reported the allegations last week.

"I have determined that it is in the best interest of my constituents and my family to end my time in Congress at the end of this year and not seek re-election," Esty said in a statement issued by her press office. "Too many women have been harmed by harassment in the workplace. In the terrible situation in my office, I could have and should have done better."

Earlier Monday, Esty asked the House Ethics Committee to conduct an expedited review of her actions.

The allegations against Baker included punching a fellow staff member and sending her threatening messages, according to the Washington Post. The Post said Baker referred questions to a friend, who disputed the allegation that Baker had struck the woman. In later dismissing him, Esty gave him a job recommendation and about $5,000 severance, and signed a non-disclosure agreement concerning the details of his termination, the paper said.

Connecticut Senate Majority Leader Bob Duff, a Democrat, joined Republicans in calling on her to resign. Esty first won the seat in 2012 in a district carried by Hillary Clinton in 2016 by 4 percentage points in the presidential race against Donald Trump.

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