Sen. Daylin Leach ends congressional bid following harassment allegations

PHILADELPHIA (AP) -- A Pennsylvania state senator who was the subject of allegations that he behaved inappropriately toward female employees and campaign aides has announced he is ending his stalled congressional bid.

Sen. Daylin Leach, a lawyer and a Democratic state lawmaker since 2003, had announced in December he would "step back" from his campaign after the allegations were published by The Philadelphia Inquirer.

In a Facebook post Saturday night, Leach cited attacks on his family but also said "how unappealing Congress has become." He said he would instead remain in the state Senate.

"I typically do not back down from a challenge, but the more these individuals direct attacks at my family -- including my children -- the more we, as a family asked, "Is this worth it?" and "What's the big payoff?" Leach wrote.

"I find myself looping back to how unappealing Congress has become, and I think about the life experience I want our 17- and 15 year-old children to have as they go through the stress of adolescence and applying for college," he wrote.

Leach has been among the Legislature's most prominent liberals, leading the fight for the legalization of same-sex marriage and medical marijuana. He also ran unsuccessfully for another congressional seat in 2014.

Last summer, he announced a bid for Pennsylvania's 7th Congressional District, which the state Supreme Court's new congressional map now places in the 4th Congressional District.

Some Democrats, including Gov. Tom Wolf, called for him to step down after the Inquirer's story quoted former party, campaign and legislative aides, some anonymously, accusing him of behavior ranging from making sexualized jokes and comments to touching they considered inappropriate.

Leach has said he will cooperate with state Senate leaders to address the allegations and said it is "heartbreaking" to him that he made someone feel uncomfortable or disrespected.