Tim Murphy to Resign Oct. 21 After Affair Revelations

Pennsylvania Republican had previously said he would serve out his term

Pennsylvania Rep. Tim Murphy’s upcoming departure will prompt a special election in the 18th District. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Rep. Tim Murphy will resign effective Oct. 21, Speaker Paul D. Ryan’s office announced Thursday, following revelations that Murphy had urged a woman with whom he had an affair to get an abortion. 

The Pennsylvania Republican announced Wednesday that he would not run for re-election, but would serve out the rest of his term. But less than 24 hours later, Ryan’s office announced Murphy had submitted a letter of resignation.

“This afternoon I received a letter of resignation from Congressman Tim Murphy, effective October 21,” Ryan said in a statement. “It was Dr. Murphy’s decision to move on to the next chapter of his life, and I support it. We thank him for his many years of tireless work on mental health issues here in Congress and his service to the country as a naval reserve officer.”

At a press conference Thursday, Ryan had indicated that Murphy should leave Congress.

“I’ve spoken with Tim quite a bit last couple of days. I think it’s appropriate that he moves onto the next chapter of his life, and I think he agrees with that. I won’t go into timing of announcements,” Ryan said when asked if he thought Murphy should resign from Congress early.

Murphy was a member of the Bipartisan Congressional Pro-Life Caucus in the last Congress, though it is not clear if he remained in the caucus in the current Congress. His office did not respond to an inquiry about his membership Thursday.

Murphy admitted last month to having an extramarital affair. This week the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported he had urged the woman, forensic psychologist Shannon Edwards, to get an abortion during a pregnancy scare.

On Tuesday night, Murphy voted for a bill banning abortions after 20 weeks. 

Murphy’s departure will prompt a special election in the 18th District. State Rep. Guy Reschenthaler announced Wednesday that he would run for the seat. One Pennsylvania Republican source said Wednesday that other potential contenders include GOP state Rep. Jason Ortitay and state Rep. Rick Saccone, who is running for Senate, and could move to the House race instead.

President Donald Trump carried the district by 20 points last year, and Inside Elections with Nathan L. Gonzales rates that race Solid Republican.

Lindsey McPherson contributed to this report. 


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