Rep. Blake Farenthold (R-Texas) resigned Friday. The Texas Congressman had previously announced he would retire at the end of his current term, but the mounting ethics and harassment investigations against him left him unable to make it through November.
Farenthold’s resignation is effective as of 5:00 PM local time Friday.
“While I planned on serving out the remainder of my term in Congress, I know in my heart it’s time for me to move along and look for new ways to serve,” Rep. Farenthold said in a public statement.
Farenthold, who served on the House Oversight and Government Reform, Judiciary and Transportation Committees was being investigated by the House Ethics Committee for charges of his inappropriate behavior leading to the termination of his aide Lauren Greene. He settled with Greene out of court, but Politico reported last December that he had used taxpayer funds to do so.
In a dramatic five-minute video announcing his retirement, Farenthold discussed his campaign’s lack of professionalism, but did not apologize for any of the allegations against him. Though he vowed after the Politico article broke that he would repay the $84,000 he had stolen from taxpayers, there was no evidence as of March that he had made good on this promise.
Another wrinkle for Farenthold came when his former communications director, Elizabeth Peace, told the Ethics Committee that despite not being hired by his campaign, she was forced to conduct campaign activities from her House.gov email account and used House computers, in violation of campaign finance law.
His step-grandmother is Democratic state legislator Sissy Farenthold.
Unless he’s playing from Scott Walker’s playbook, Texas Governor Greg Abbott (R) will call a special election to determine who will fill the outgoing Congressman’s seat until the next session of the U.S. House of Representatives begins in January. There’s already speculation that no special election will be held.
Bech Brunn and Michael Cloud are currently in a run-off in Texas’ Republican primary to represent Farenthold’s district in January. That run-off will be held May 22.
Katelyn Kivel is a contributing editor for Grit Post in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Follow her on Twitter @KatelynKivel.