Leach steps back from Congressional bid after he’s accused of inappropriate behavior

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State Sen. Daylin Leach. (Emma Lee/WHYY, file)

State Sen. Daylin Leach. (Emma Lee/WHYY, file)

Montgomery County state Sen. Daylin Leach said he’s “taking a step back” from his campaign for a suburban Congressional seat in the wake of allegations he behaved inappropriately toward women.

A report in Sunday’s Philadelphia Inquirer and Philly.com said several women described inappropriate touching as well as sexually suggestive jokes and comments by Leach. None accused him of sexual assault.

Leach does not appear ready to heed Gov. Tom Wolf’s call for his resignation from the Pennsylvania Senate.

Leach released a statement saying he plans to “focus on my family and work with Senate leaders to address these allegations and fully cooperate with them as they are all vetted.”

Leach is an announced candidate for the 7th Congressional District, which includes parts of Delaware, Chester, Montgomery, Berks, and Lancaster counties. The seat is now held by Republican U.S. Rep Pat Meehan.

David Landau, chairman of the Delaware County Democratic Committee said in a statement Sunday that Leach should suspend his congressional campaign, and that the state Senate should launch “an outside, independent investigation” of the allegations.

Landau said from a practical point of view these allegations coming from multiple women make his congressional bid problematic.

“Even assuming for a moment, let’s say that they weren’t true you still couldn’t escape the allegations because every time your name comes up, there’s going to be a sentence that says he’s been alleged to have engaged in inappropriate sexual conduct, and that kind of charge puts a cloud over a campaign,” said Landau.

There are four other announced candidates for the Democratic nomination in that district. Leach would not have to seek re-election to the state Senate until 2020.

Here’s Leach’s full statement, released at about 2:10 p.m. Monday on his Facebook page:

All of this has gotten out of hand. News vans are now banging on our window and my family is being chased when they leave the house. So I am taking a short break from social media and from interacting on this story.

That said, I’m issuing the following statement:

“While I’ve always been a gregarious person, it’s heartbreaking to me that I have put someone in a position that made them feel uncomfortable or disrespected. In the future I will take more care in my words and my actions, and I will make it my top priority to protect those who to speak up to help change the culture around us.

I have watched these allegations hurt my family and supporters, and respectfully ask for privacy for my family.

Today, I am taking a step back from the congressional campaign to focus on my family and work with Senate leaders to address these allegations and fully cooperate with them as they are all vetted.

I will continue to do all that I can to advance progressive causes in the Senate and represent my constituents with honor.”

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