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After the midterms, over 100 US public officials accused of sexual misconduct are out of office

AP Photo/Andrew Harnik
One for the women.
  • Annalisa Merelli
By Annalisa Merelli

Senior reporter based in New York City

Published Last updated This article is more than 2 years old.

Women are arguably the winner of this electoral cycle. Come January, at least 125 of them will be members of Congress—an unprecedented number that crowns the progress of the feminist momentum that has taken over the US, and much of the world.

But changes in representation aren’t just marked by those who won, but by those who lost it. And there is a particular group of people who lost significant representation in public office: Men who were accused of sexual misconduct.

According to research published this week by Georgetown Law’s professor Jamillah Bowman Williams, there have been 138 public officials at the federal and state level—111 elected and 27 appointed—accused of sexual misconduct in the past election cycle. All but 18 of them have been accused since the MeToo movement started in October 2016.

With Thursday’s election, 104 of them, or 75%, are gone.

Besides civil and criminal lawsuits, the accused were held accountable through their public career. In the past year, three officials lost general elections (two to women), 77 stepped aside (only two resigned, there rest retired or decided not to seek reelection). Nine officials were removed from office, and 15 lost their primary elections. Two committed suicide.

However, the electoral mobilization hasn’t been as powerful as other forms of accountability: Of the 27 accused men who sought reelection in this midterm, 23 won their races, and one is waiting for the recount. Of the remaining three, two lost against women.

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