Republican Rep Souder admits affair, resigns

Tue May 18, 2010 7:08pm EDT

U.S. Republican congressman from Indiana Mark Souder (R-IN) (C), congressman Eliyah E. Cummings (L) and congressman John Shaddeg talk to the press after meeting the deposed king of Afghanistan Mohammad Zahir Shah at the king's residence in the outskirts of Rome in this file image from November 9, 2001. REUTERS/Paolo Cocco/Files

U.S. Republican congressman from Indiana Mark Souder (R-IN) (C), congressman Eliyah E. Cummings (L) and congressman John Shaddeg talk to the press after meeting the deposed king of Afghanistan Mohammad Zahir Shah at the king's residence in the outskirts of Rome in this file image from November 9, 2001.

Credit: Reuters/Paolo Cocco/Files

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In 10th paragraph, corrects to say Boehner spoke by telephone with Souder -- rather than met privately with him

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Republican Representative Mark Souder, a self-proclaimed evangelical Christian, said on Tuesday that he had an affair with a female staffer and would resign, effective on Friday.

"I'm resigning rather than put my family through a painful drawn out process," Souder said at a hastily called news conference in his home district in Fort Wayne, Indiana.

Souder likely faced an investigation by the House of Representatives ethics committee if he did not step aside.

In a statement issued by his office, Souder, 59, said he had "sinned against God, my wife and my family by having a mutual relationship with a part-time member of my staff."

David Wasserman, who tracks congressional races for The Cook Political Report, said the Republicans were likely to retain the seat because it serves "one of the most Republican districts in the state of Indiana."

The Republican Party will first have to move quickly to come up with a candidate to replace Souder in November's election.

Souder is the 20th House Republican to announce plans to resign or run for higher office in November. There are 19 House Democrats who plan to retire, run for higher officer or have lost their party's primary.

Democrats now control the U.S. House, 254-177, but with polls showing plenty of voter anger at Washington, lawmakers are scrambling to retain the advantage.

Souder's profile in "The Almanac of American Politics" quotes him as saying he is "most defined by the fact that I'm an evangelical Christian." He also has been an advocate of abstinence in sexual education.

On the eve of his announcement on Tuesday, Souder spoke by phone with House Republican Leader John Boehner. Michael Steel, a Boehner spokesman, said he was not aware of the details of their conversation but "Boehner has been perfectly clear that he will hold our members to the highest ethical standards."

Souder's resignation comes a few months after a first-term House Democrat, Eric Massa, resigned amid allegations of sexual misconduct.

In 2008, Souder won re-election with 55 percent of the vote in his northeast Indiana district, which is home to many manufacturers.

Souder, who was an aide to former Senator Dan Coats, gained a reputation early in his House career for challenging Republican leaders, arguing that bills they were pushing were not conservative enough.

During his House career, Souder worked to toughen U.S. drug policy and was one of only 32 House Republicans who voted for the 2008 bailout of domestic automobile companies.

When he first ran for office, Souder promised to serve no more than 12 years. He is now in his 16th year in the House.

(Reporting by Richard Cowan and Thomas Ferraro; Editing by Bill Trott)

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Comments (14)
emag wrote:
Yup. Another holier-than-thou xian who is full of S$&T. I never met an evangelical xian who wasn’t, but they sure like to tell others how to live their lives.

Note to evangelicals – your god wants you with him – kill yourself

“most defined by the fact that I’m an evangelical Christian.”
Souder promised to serve no more than 12 years. He is now in his 16th year in the House.

May 18, 2010 1:30pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
TruNYC wrote:
Does this mean that the Republicans are still the same lying cheats who preach one thing and do another?

This is no surprise, most of these Christian Conservatives only say whats in their best interest politically. They use peoples gullibility to serve themselves.

Conservatives have done more damage to this great country than the terrorist who attacked us.

May 18, 2010 1:35pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
MJWisconsin wrote:
“I’m resigning rather than put my family through a painful drawn out process”…How about, you’re a flaming hypocrite and you’ve lived a lie to your constituents and the American people and you don’t deserve the right to continue to promote an agenda that is in exact contrast to your lifestyle? Why is it that so many self-righteous public figures seem to think they can promote one agenda by day and live the opposite by night? I DO give Souder credit for cutting and running before this got all over the news. However, I’d be much happier if he’d been honest up front rather than promote his head-in-the-sand agenda of abstinence in sex education. “Do as I say, not as I do”…..Pathetic!

May 18, 2010 1:52pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
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