Duluth, MN (Northland’s NewsCenter) – Minnesota DFL 7B Representative Gauthier called the Northland’s News Center just before 5 p.m. Wednesday to say that he decided to pull out of the race.
Gauthier says there’s too much political fall out and it’s too hard on him psychologically.
He doesn’t know what he’s going to do but he knows that staying in the race will be too hard on him emotionally.
Duluth DFL Representative Kerry Gauthier had told the Northland's NewsCenter's Barbara Reyelts earlier Wednesday he had decided to stay in the race for his Minnesota District 7B Legislative seat despite calls from his own party and Republican leadership to withdraw.
This follows a sex scandal involving Gauthier and a 17 year old boy last month.
Surrounded by supporters from organized labor in Duluth, the Representative said this has been the worst time of his life, saying he feels like he let his family, friends and constituents down but still feels he's the best person to represent District 7B.
Before his change of heart to withdraw from the race, Rep. Gauthier said, “There are those, particularly in St. Paul, that have publicly asked for my resignation, or withdrawal, from the race for the House seat 7B. In consultation with my friends, and my family, I have decided to let people in Central, and West Duluth make that decision rather than the political powerbase in St. Paul.”
Gauthier went on to say the problem stems from his past unwillingness to accept himself as a gay man.
He said that led him to engage in this inappropriate liaison with a teenaged boy in a public place.
He says he is getting counseling and will not get involved in this type of unacceptable relationship again.
“I am a better person than this incident portrayed me,” Gauthier told Reyelts, “…and I will demonstrate this in my future behavior. I can change my behavior, but I cannot change the fact that I am a gay man, and have known this since my college days. I simply must act like a mature gay man would act, and not as the incident portrays me.”
Rep. Gauthier says he feels very badly for the 17 year old boy and wouldn't talk specifically about the incident to protect the young man.
He said following, what he called a “media storm”, he took several muscle relaxants and was found unconscious and taken to the hospital.
He says that too was unacceptable, and with his on–going counseling he will not seek release in prescription medications again.
Gauthier says that he's withdrawing from the race to hold on to benefits through the year.
DFL Chair Ken Martin released the following statement in response to Rep. Gauthier's decision to end his campaign:
"We are grateful that Rep. Gauthier has chosen to do the right thing and end his bid for re-election. This has been a very difficult ordeal for our party, our legislative leaders and certainly for Rep. Gauthier and others involved in this tragic situation. On behalf of the DFL Party, we thank Rep. Gauthier for his service in the legislature and we wish him the best on his path to recovery."