The #MeToo movement has spurred the resignation of at least one dozen state and federal lawmakers—nearly every Congressional lawmaker accused of sexual harassment has stepped down. However, the movement has stalled at the state level: the Associated Press reports that of 25 state lawmakers running for re-election, 15 have advanced through the primaries, and nearly half ran unopposed.
In Kentucky, for example, former House Speaker Jeff Hoover admitted to illicitly settling a sexual harassment claim by a former staffer. Eight fellow House Republicans called for his expulsion from the House. Instead, Hoover was reprimanded with a puny $1,000 ethics violation fine and lost his position as House Speaker. In 2018, he is running for re-election unopposed in a Republican-heavy district.
In California, four state lawmakers accused of sexual misconduct—including two women—have advanced to the general election. Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia, a #MeToo advocate and chair of the Legislative Women’s Caucus, was accused of sexual harassment by two men—including one former legislative staffer.
Elsewhere, those accused of sexual harassment run undeterred in primary elections. In New York, former Independent Democratic Conference leader and current state senator Jeff Klein was accused of shoving his tongue down the throat of a former senate staffer. In Arizona, former state Rep. Don Shooter was ousted from office amid a series of sexual harassment allegations. Amazingly, he is running in the Republican primaries as state senator.
National Women’s Law Center president and CEO Fatima Goss Graves believes that even if these lawmakers pass through the midterms, “the spotlight will continue to be on this issue whether there are electoral consequences in 2018 or the next election cycle or beyond.”