Nevada Democrat Accused of Sexual Harassment Considers Running for Congress Again

Report: Ruben Kihuen approached Harry Reid to gauge support

Rep. Ruben Kihuen (D., Nev.) / Getty
March 8, 2018

Democratic Rep. Ruben Kihuen, who multiple women have accused of sexual harassment, is considering reversing course after announcing in December that he would not run for reelection in Nevada's fourth congressional district.

Kihuen, a former Nevada state legislator who was elected to the U.S. Congress in 2016, has been in touch with donors, union officials, and former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D., Nev.) to gauge support for another run, the Nevada Independent reported Wednesday.

A Democratic operative in Washington also told the Las Vegas Review-Journal that Kihuen is keeping "all options open."

The first-term congressman announced last year that he would forgo a reelection bid after three women came forward to accuse him of making unwanted sexual advances toward them. The accusations first became public in early December, when a woman who previously worked as Kihuen's campaign finance director alleged that the lawmaker inappropriately touched and propositioned her during the 2016 race. A second woman, a lobbyist, soon came forward to accuse Kihuen of sexually harassing her while he was serving in the Nevada state Senate.

At least one other woman has accused Kihuen of sexual harassment.

Several top House Democrats, including Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.), called on Kihuen to resign in the wake of the allegations, as did the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. In response to those calls, the first-term congressman accused Pelosi and the DCCC of knowing about the allegations when he was running for Congress in 2016.

"I do find it interesting that the DCCC, Leader Pelosi, and [DCCC] Chairman Ben Ray Lujan—they knew about these allegations last year," Kihuen told ABC News at the time. "They looked into them. They didn't find anything, and they continued investing millions of dollars into my campaign. They went out there and campaigned for me."

On Thursday, Pelosi did not offer an opinion when asked about Kihuen mulling a reelection bid.

"When he makes a decision, I'll give you a reaction to it," she said during a press conference. "Let's see what he decides to do. I don't mean to be rude in my response, but I don't want to speculate in something that may or may not happen."

In December, the House Ethics Committee opened an investigation into Kihuen for sexual misconduct. The investigation is ongoing and no final determination has been made.