Republican U.S. Representative Mark Souder, a self-proclaimed evangelical Christian, said on Tuesday that he had an affair with a female staffer and would resign, effective on Friday.
“I’m resigning rather than put my family through a painful drawn out process,” Souder said at a hastily called news conference in his home district in Fort Wayne, Indiana.
Souder likely faced an investigation by the House of Representatives ethics committee if he did not step aside.
In a statement issued by his office, Souder, 59, said he had “sinned against God, my wife and my family by having a mutual relationship with a part-time member of my staff.”
The Republican Party will first have to move quickly to come up with a candidate to replace Souder in November’s election.
David Wasserman, who tracks congressional races for The Cook Political Report, said the Republicans were likely to retain the seat because it serves “one of the most Republican districts in the state of Indiana.”
Souder is the 20th House Republican to announce plans to resign or run for higher office in November. There are 19 House Democrats who plan to retire, run for higher officer or have lost their party’s primary.
Democrats now control the U.S. House, 254-177, but with polls showing plenty of voter anger at Washington, lawmakers are scrambling to retain the advantage. …