State Rep. Matt Wingard (R-Wilsonville) has dropped his bid for re-election, following WW's report last week that a former female aide had accused of him of sexual misconduct.
The aide, now 23, had said Wingard pressured her into a sexual relationship while she worked for him, and kept her on the public payroll after she ended the relationship with him and stopped reporting for work. The former aide first approached the Oregon Department of Justice in January with allegations about Wingardâs conduct, which she says took place in 2010, beginning when she was 20.
Wingard, 39, admitted to having sexual relationship with the woman while she worked for him but said he found nothing wrong with that. He denied her other allegations.
Wingard was forced to step down from his House Republican leadership position last week and was facing growing pressure to give up his seat, including from an editorial in The Oregonian on Tuesday.
After WW's print deadlines, Wingard announced he had decided not to seek a third term.
"After balancing the tremendous respect that I have for the voters, and above all, my concern for my family, I have reached the decision not to seek another term as District 26 State Representative. I will continue to serve in office until a new representative is elected and sworn in. During my time of service, weâve accomplished many things that have made this District and our great State a better place. I decided to run in 2008 because I could not find an education reform champion in the Oregon Legislature. Giving low-income and minority children access to a world-class education has been my passion for more than a decade. I am very pleased that last year we were able to pass the most comprehensive package of education reforms in Oregon history giving tens of thousands of parents and students more school choices. I am dedicated to that political struggle. I wish to thank my family, especially my son, my dedicated staff, and all of my friends within the Republican Party. Thank you for the hundreds of messages of support. I will forever be grateful to you for your kindness. Above all, I would like to thank the citizens of District 26 for the privilege of representing you. It is my honor and pleasure to serve you."