Politics

Pelosi Mum on Whether Kihuen Should Seek Re-election

Nevada congressman announced he wouldn’t seek re-election after sexual harassment allegations

Rep. Ruben Kihuen, D-Nev., and his guest Astrid Silva, a Dreamer, are seen in the Capitol Rotunda before President Donald Trump's State of the Union address in January. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi was mum on whether Nevada Rep. Ruben Kihuen should seek re-election after saying he would not after being accused of sexual harassment.

“When he makes a decision, I’ll give you a reaction to it,” the Democratic leader said at a press conference Thursday.

“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,” she said.

The Nevada freshman Democrat is reportedly reconsidering running for re-election after saying he would not seek a second term after he was accused of sexual harassment according to the Nevada Independent.

Despite his earlier announcement that he was not running again, Kihuen has maintained his innocence. But prior to the reports that he’s reconsidering, Kihuen looked prepared to leave the House.

He returned a $2,000 contribution from Pelosi, according to Federal Election Commission reports. Pelosi aide Jorge Aguilar confirmed last month Kihuen returned the check because he was not running again.

But Kihuen reportedly consulted with Nevada’s powerful Culinary Union and former Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, according to The Nevada Independent.

Kihuen demurred when asked if his plans had changed.

“If you’re talking about the reconsideration, I have no comment,” he told a reporter from the Independent.

The move comes despite the fact Kihuen said he would not seek re-election after two women accused him of sexual harassment.

Watch: The #MeToo Impact on 2018

After BuzzFeed reported the first accusation of harassment, Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Ben Ray Lujan and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi both said Kihuen should step down.

Kihuen re-entering the race could complicate Democrats’ efforts to hold on to Nevada’s 4th District seat.

Former Rep. Cresent Hardy, whom Kihuen beat in 2016, has already announced he would seek his old seat.

And former Democratic Rep. Steven Horsford, whom Hardy beat in 2014, announced he would run for his old seat. Nevada state Sen. Pat Spearman is also a Democratic candidate for the seat.

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