2020 Election

Nebraska Dem Refuses to Bow Out of Senate Race Amid Sexual Harassment Scandal

Janicek won't resign candidacy despite opposition from his own state party

Chris Janicek / Facebook

The Nebraska Democratic Party's nominee for Senate on Monday refused calls from his own party to resign his candidacy following a sexual harassment allegation.

Chris Janicek denied the party's request that he drop out over text messages in which he made sexually explicit remarks about another staffer, the Omaha World-Herald reports. In a group text with at least five people, Janicek mocked a staffer by saying he wanted to "get her laid."

According to the World-Herald, Janicek described lining up men for group sex with the staffer, suggesting that the men could be paid.

"Thoughts?!money" he wrote.

Janicek admitted the messages are authentic.

"This is a moment in time where I made a terrible mistake in a text message," he said.

The party requested Janicek withdraw after reviewing the text messages, which were revealed by a staff member who filed a formal complaint about the incident Monday.

Janicek's campaign claimed he apologized soon after sending the initial message.

"I hope everyone understands, including you … that this is a joke," he texted the group. "I'm going on no sleep and a bunch of exuberant excitement and I think I was out of line now that I read my text back I apologize."

Following Janicek's refusal to withdraw on Monday, the state's party unanimously voted to deny him any party resources.

"Our Democratic Party has no tolerance for sexual harassment," state party chairwoman Jane Kleeb said after the vote. "Our Party will not extend resources or any type of support to any candidate that violates our code of conduct and doesn’t treat men and women with the dignity and respect they deserve."

Janicek won his primary race on May 12 and is seeking to unseat Nebraska's junior senator Ben Sasse (R.) in the November election.