A Pennsylvania state lawmaker said he was resigning in order to focus on his family after he was accused by a Republican state rep. of sexually harassing her when he was inebriated.
State Rep. Mike Zabel initially refused to resign but acquiesced on Wednesday afternoon after Republican state Rep. Abby Major made her accusations during a media briefing on International Women’s Day.
“On this particular evening, Representative Zabel and I were standing near each other at the bar,” she said.
“I was attempting to pay my tab when he began to tell me how fantastic I looked, how he could really tell that I had lost a lot of weight, and that I just looked great. I told him, ‘Thank you,’ but he continued pressing the issue, eventually putting his arm around me and touching my back,” Major added.
“He then asked me if I wanted to get out of here and go upstairs,” she said.
Major said she was going to ignore the issue until Zabel was also accused of sexually harassing Andi Perez, a top SEIU union lobbyist, in 2019.
A third person, Zabel’s 2018 campaign manager, Colleen Kennedy, also claimed that he had sexually harassed her.
“At this time, I will be stepping back from this role to focus on my family and my health,” Zabel wrote on Wednesday.
Zabel’s resignation will be made effective on March 16 and will put the slim majority of the Democratic Party in the legislature at risk. Currently, Democrats control 102 seats to the Republicans’ 100 seats, but after Zabel resigns, that majority will decrease to one seat. And that one seat could be turned over to Republican control in the May 6th primary special election.
Democrats were criticized heavily after the leadership refused to call for Zabel’s resignation before the third accusations surfaced.
“Mike Zabel’s drawn out resignation proved one thing: Pennsylvania Democrats are willing to protect a sexual predator in the name of clinging onto a slim majority in the Pennsylvania House,” read a statement from the Republican State Leadership Committee.
Major had an additional message for all men.
“To the men listening to this, you’ll never understand the feeling of a man touching you, following you, making you feel incredibly uncomfortable and unsafe, and being able to do nothing about it,” she said.
Here’s more about Zabel focusing on his family:
Lawmaker Rep. Mike Zabel resigns amid sex harassment allegations
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