Andrea Ramsey, a Kansas Democrat running for a House seat in 2018, has dropped out of the race amid sexual misconduct accusations, according to the Kansas City Star.
The retired businesswoman — who was considered one of the Democratic Party’s brightest political prospects — was hoping to challenge Republican Rep. Kevin Yoder of Kansas’ 3rd District in the 2018 midterm elections.
The Star reported on a 2005 lawsuit filed against LabOne, the company at which Ramsey worked as an executive vice president of human resources. One of Ramsey’s male subordinates, a man named Gary Funkhouser, alleged that she sexually harassed him and retaliated when he rejected her advances. Funkhouser claims Ramsey made “unwelcome and inappropriate sexual comments and innuendos” in September 2004 while he was a human resources manager. He also alleges that she made advances on a business trip in March 2005.
Funkhouser was fired by Ramsey in April of the same year.
Sources claim that the case was settled out-of-court and the alleged victim agreed to permanently dismiss the case.
In the statement in which she announced she was dropping out of the race, Ramsey strongly denied the allegations.
“My opponents have chosen to use these false allegations against me for political purposes, not only engaging in a whisper campaign, but also contacting political and news organizations,” Ramsey said. “These false allegations are disgraceful and demean the moment this country is in. For far too long, complaints of sexual harassment have been completely ignored. The timely and thorough investigation of complaints is a very good thing. We are seeing real change in how harassment is being handled from Topeka to Washington. We should always make it as safe as possible for people who have been wronged to come forward, and I have based my professional career as an employment lawyer and human resources executive on that principle.”
Ramsey also said that after the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) investigated the allegations, they chose not to pursue them and and Funkhouser eventually dismissed the lawsuit voluntarily.
“In its rush to claim the high ground in our roiling national conversation about harassment, the Democratic Party has implemented a zero-tolerance standard,” Ramsey said in her statement.
“For me, that means a vindictive, terminated employee’s false allegations are enough for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) to decide not to support our promising campaign. We are in a national moment where rough justice stands in place of careful analysis, nuance and due process.”
The DCCC, which is yet to endorse any of the candidates in the Democratic primary, released a statement about the accusations made against Ramsey.
“Members and candidates must all be held to the highest standard. If anyone is guilty of sexual harassment or sexual assault, that person should not hold public office,” committee spokeswoman Meredith Kelly said.
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