WASHINGTON -- Where in the world is Tim Murphy?
There has been no sign of the GOP congressman Thursday at his third-floor office at the Rayburn House Office Building, a day after he announced he would not seek re-election at the end of his term.
But a handful of office staffers -- including his communications director, Carly Atchison -- remained at work while the Pennsylvania representative began his leave of absence, to take "personal time" with his family.
Atchison wouldn't say if her boss was in D.C. or back in Pittsburgh -- or elsewhere. But on Capitol Hill this week, there has been much interest about Murphy's political future after the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported on documents that indicated problems in his office -- and text messages that suggest he urged a woman with whom he was having an extramarital relationship to get an abortion.
"Right now, as the congressman said in his statement, he's taking some personal time," Atchison said, adding that "once he is ready to weigh in, he will."
Murphy was notably absent from the House's vote Thursday to authorize a $4.1 trillion budget for fiscal year 2018. Outside the chambers, Rep. Ryan Costello, one of Murphy's colleagues in the Pennsylvania Republican delegation, offered very little about his fellow congressman's plans to retire.
"I wish him well in retirement," Costello said. When asked if he thought Mr. Murphy made the right call, Costello simply said, "yes."
Rep. Mark Meadows, a Republican from North Carolina who chairs the House's conservative Freedom Caucus, said he's had about four conversations with Murphy in five years.
"That's his personal decision based on his personal life," Meadows said of Murphy's plans.
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