The Inquirer reported Sunday that Leach made inappropriate sexual comments, which he said were in jest, and touched some women inappropriately. He denied any wrongdoing.
Leach blamed a political opponent, though he did not say who, and reporters “hungry for a story” for the allegations. He said he can sometimes resort to “bawdy comedy.”
“It is true that sometimes I do touch people when I talk to them,” Leach said in a statement to the Inquirer. “A clasped forearm, a pat on the back. But never anything inappropriate or sexual.”
Watch: Hill Sexual Misconduct Could Muddy 2018 Wave Potential
Leach’s campaign did not respond to a request for comment on whether he would remain in the race. But Leach indicated in his statement he “will go back to doing what I’ve always done, being a fierce fighter for women’s rights and trying to protect my family from the unfortunate consequences of the profession I’ve chosen.”
The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has so far followed a zero-tolerance policy toward candidates accused of sexual harassment.
“Members and candidates must all be held to the highest standard,” DCCC spokeswoman Meredith Kelly said in a statement Sunday. “If anyone is guilty of sexual harassment or sexual assault, that person should not hold public office.”
On Friday, Democrat Andrea Ramsey dropped out of the race for Kansas’ 3rd District after sexual harassment allegations against her surfaced. Ramsey said the DCCC refused to support her campaign, which meant she could not move forward.
Leach was considered a top candidate in the crowded Democratic primary in Pennsylvania’s 7th District. Clinton carried the district by 2 points in 2016.
Leach, who ran unsuccessfully for the 13th District in 2014, is well known among liberal Democrats for his brash humor and sardonic social media posts.
He had so far raised over $403,000, more than the other Democrats in the primary, according to Federal Election Commission documents. Dan Muroff, a former House staffer and Democratic ward leader in Philadelphia, had raised the next largest amount, with more than $306,000.
One Democratic strategist in the state said, “Stick a fork in Daylin because he’s done as a candidate.” The strategist noted that multiple people accusing Leach of inappropriate conduct meant he could no longer credibly challenge Meehan.
Inside Elections with Nathan L. Gonzales rates the race Likely Republican.