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Rep. Tim Murphy of Pa. resigns after pressure mounts following abortion texts

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on

Published in Political News

WASHINGTON -- Rep. Tim Murphy of Pennsylvania announced Thursday that he was resigning, a day after he said he would not run for re-election.

The Republican congressman from the 18th District faced a storm of criticism after reports that he urged the woman with whom he was having an extramarital relationship to get an abortion. Murphy, 65, has long been staunchly anti-abortion.

A statement from U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan said: "This afternoon I received a letter of resignation from Congressman Tim Murphy, effective Oct. 21. It was Dr. Murphy's decision to move on to the next chapter of his life, and I support it. 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."

Under state law, Gov. Tom Wolf must send a writ of election to each county in the district within 10 days of the vacancy, setting a special election date at least 60 days in the future.

In a statement, Steve Stivers, the National Republican Congressional Committee chairman, said, " ... The circumstances surrounding this situation are extremely disappointing to me.

"However, the NRCC is undefeated in special elections this year and I'm supremely confident that will continue," he said. "In the meantime, we look forward to seeing how national Democrats can spin yet another special election loss into a so-called 'moral victory.'"

Murphy's troubles started four weeks ago after the congressman admitted to an extramarital affair with a psychologist he grew close to when she took on an activist role to help pass his bill to increased treatment availability for people with severe mental illness.

Murphy, who is married and has an adult daughter, admitted to the affair after the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette prevailed in a court motion to unseal a divorce case for which he was being deposed.

Murphy, 65, is not a party to the divorce but the husband in the case, sports medicine physician Jesse Sally, sought his deposition in July as part of his divorce from Shannon Edwards, who has acknowledged a six-month affair with the congressman last year.

Edwards, 32, has a doctoral degree and as part of her work evaluates defendants in criminal and child custody cases.

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