TN House Whip Resigns After Tennessean Investigation into Sexual Harassment

House Majority Whip Jeremy Durham’s decision Sunday to resign his leadership position in the Tennessee House Republican Caucus came after a two-hour whirlwind in which GOP leadership released a statement from Durham saying he resigned, only to have Durham waffle on his resignation in several emails to The Tennessean.

The decision to resign came as Durham spent his afternoon watching the Denver Broncos football team beat the New England Patriots, and in the wake of a Tennessean investigation into inappropriate text messages he sent to three women.

According to caucus leadership, Durham made the decision to resign hours after The Tennessean published an investigation that included three women who said they received messages from the Franklin Republican they considered inappropriate. Two of the women provided text messages from Durham that were sent in 2013. Both received texts sent after midnight in which Durham asked them for pictures.

“I was under the impression that Representative Durham was resigning from his leadership position. He has since contacted me and said his statement was only a draft. This is certainly a surprise to me,” Casada, R-Franklin, said in a statement at 5:06 p.m.

After Harwell sent a statement saying she thought Durham has resigned, she called on Durham to resign.

“I believe Rep. Durham should resign his leadership position,” Harwell said in the statement.

Casada agreed.

“Regardless of what is now being reported, I have spoken to Representative Durham throughout the day. I have thanked him for his service to the caucus, and have urged him to resign his position as Majority Whip. It is the mature thing to do,” Casada said in the statement.

Tennessee GOP Party Chairman Ryan Haynes blasted Durham in a statement released at 5:23 p.m. Sunday.

“Sexual harassment of any kind is wrong. Voters elect public officials to focus on our communities and our state. Officeholders should not take part in anything that undermines that commitment. This (Durham’s) behavior is a stain on the good work that is done at the Legislature and is not reflective of either the good men and women who work there or the Republican Party,” Haynes said in the statement.

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