Pennsylvania Democrat leaving office after allegations of sexual harassment

 March 9, 2023

Pennsylvania Democratic state Rep. Mike Zabel announced that he will resign his seat on March 16 following multiple accusations of sexual harassment.

Zabel's letter came shortly after Republican state Rep. Abby Major shared her personal claims of his harassment during a press conference.

The consequences

"This subtraction for the Democrats means they will only hold a one-seat state majority and then likely a split House after a May special election is held to fill a vacant but heavily Republican seat in Monroe and Northampton Counties," the Washington Examiner reported.

"Last week, Zabel sent a letter to the state Democratic house leadership stating he would not resign from office but would seek treatment for an unnamed 'illness' that has 'caused some behavior that I regret,'" it added.

The details

"Andi Perez, a lobbyist for Service Employees International Union 32BJ, publicly shared her story for the first time in January at a meeting organized by then-state House Speaker Mark Rozzi (D., Berks)," Spotlight PA reported.

"The lawmaker 'decided to caress my leg while I was wearing a skirt all the while telling me he was impressed by my passion and knowledge of the issues we were discussing,' Perez said. 'I moved away from him hoping he would stop — he did not.'"

"I hope that all the women who so bravely shared their stories can find comfort in knowing that Mike Zabel is no longer in office. I know I do," Perez said in a statement following the lawmaker's resignation.

Not the first to come forward

A total of three women have shared reports of Zabel's inappropriate behavior.

The resignation will now lead to a special election that could result in a split state House of Representatives if a Republican wins.

The state continues to stand out over controversies regarding Democratic lawmakers, including Sen. John Fetterman (D-PA) who remains hospitalized for clinical depression.

The latest concern will also make for an interesting division as the state's Democratic governor seeks to move forward following Zabel's resignation.

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