ALBANY — Rep. Tom Reed said Sunday he would not run for reelection or for governor in 2022 after a woman accused him of inappropriate touching at a bar four years ago.
The decision by the Corning Republican comes after Reed had spoken publicly in recent weeks about potentially running for governor next year or whether to run for another term.
Instead, Reed said he would stick to a pledge he made when he was first elected in 2010 that he would only serve for six terms, which will finish at the end of 2022.
In a statement, Reed apologized to former lobbyist Nicolette Davis after The Washington Post reported Friday that an intoxicated Reed rubbed her back, moved his hand outside her shirt, unfastened her bra and continued to grope her in a bar in Minneapolis.
“First, I apologize to Nicolette Davis,’ his 400-word statement said. “Even though I am only hearing of this matter as stated by Ms. Davis in the article now, I hear her voice and will not dismiss her.”
On Friday. Reed denied the allegations, but on Sunday he said, “In reflection, my personal depiction of this event is irrelevant. Simply put, my behavior caused her pain, showed her disrespect and was unprofessional. I was wrong, I am sorry, and I take full responsibility.”
Reed, 49, also apologized to his family, “the people of the 23rd District, my colleagues, and those who have supported me for the harm this caused them.”
Reed represents a heavily Republican district that runs across the Southern Tier—from the Pennsylvania border east through Elmira and north through Ithaca and into Ontario County. The district is also one that could be on the chopping block as part of redistricting next year.
While a supporter of former President Donald Trump, Reed has also sought to reach across the aisle, serving as a co-leader of the bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus in Congress.
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Reed, the most senior member of the GOP House delegation in New York, said the 2017 incident with Davis, now 29, a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army, occurred at a time when he was struggling with alcoholism.
He said he is now four years sober of “that personal lifelong journey of recovery. With the support of my wife, kids and loved ones, professional help, and trust in a higher power, I continue that journey day-by-day.”
He said his struggle with addiction is not an excuse for any misbehavior, but he plans to dedicate my time and attention to making amends for my past actions and work with those also battling addiction.
“As I go forward, I will strive to be a better human being, continue to fight for what I believe in, and to make people’s lives better in any way I can. I hope this formal apology is just the start,” he continued.
Reed has been a chief critic of Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat who faces a series of sexually harassment allegations among former female aides, including one current one. Reed has also ripped Cuomo for the governor’s handling of COVID-19 deaths in nursing homes.
He told the USA TODAY Network New York last month he was seriously considering a gubernatorial run.
But his statement Sunday said he would not run for any office next year, and “therefore will be retiring from public service on January 2nd, 2023.”
Joseph Spector is the Government and Politics Editor for the USA TODAY Network’s Atlantic Group, overseeing coverage in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland and Delaware. He can be reached at [email protected] or followed on Twitter: @GannettAlbany