GOP Rep. Murphy resigning after reportedly urging mistress to have abortion

Washington Post

Rep. Tim Murphy told House leaders Thursday that he will resign from Congress later this month, a day after the Pennsylvania Republican announced that he would not seek another term amid a personal scandal.

House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., said he had received a letter of resignation from Murphy, effective Oct. 21.

"It was Dr. Murphy's decision to move on to the next chapter of his life, and I support it," Ryan said in a statement. "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."

"I've spoken with Tim quite a bit last couple of days," he said. "I think it's appropriate that he moves on to the next chapter of his life. And I think he agrees with that."

The resignation of Murphy, a clinical psychologist and Naval Reserve officer, comes after a news report claimed that the married Republican had asked a woman with whom he had an extramarital affair to get an abortion.

"After discussions with my family and staff, I have come to the decision that I will not seek reelection to Congress at the end of my current term," Murphy, 65, said in a statement Wednesday.

Murphy first publicly admitted in early September to having an affair with Shannon Edwards, a woman half his age, a revelation that dealt a blow to his reelection prospects in 2018. Murphy was first elected to the House in November 2002 and is serving his eighth term.

In a Jan. 25 text message obtained by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Edwards said Murphy had "zero issue posting your pro-life stance all over the place when you had no issue asking me to abort our unborn child just last week when we thought that was one of the options."

According to the paper, a text response from Murphy's cellphone number that same day said that his staff was responsible for the antiabortion messages: "I've never written them. Staff does them. I read them and winced. I told staff don't write any more. I will."

Murphy is a member of the House Pro-Life Caucus and was a co-sponsor of a Republican bill approved Tuesday that bans most abortions after 20 weeks of fetal development.

Murphy helped write a major overhaul of mental health programs that passed through Congress last year. He is a senior member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee and chairs its oversight and investigations subcommittee.

Murphy represents a district in southwest Pittsburgh that is solidly Republican. The nonpartisan Cook Political Report rates it as having an 11-point Republican lean. The district voted for Trump by 19 points over Hillary Clinton, 58-39, in the 2016 presidential election.

"While I am extremely disappointed in the circumstances surrounding Congressman Murphy's retirement, I remain confident that PA-18 will remain under Republican control next year," National Republican Congressional Committee Chairman Steve Stivers said in a statement Wednesday.

The Washington Post's Mary Hui contributed to this report.

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