Virginia congressman to retire over "allegations"
Just two months before he was expected to easily win a third term in the U.S. House of Representatives, Republican congressman Ed Schrock of Virginia Beach, Va., called off his reelection bid because of unspecified "allegations."
"In recent weeks allegations have surfaced that have called into question my ability to represent the citizens of Virginia's second congressional district," said Schrock in a written statement. "After much thought and prayer, I have come to the realization that these allegations will not allow my campaign to focus on the real issues facing our nation and region. Therefore, as of today, I am stepping aside and will no longer be the Republican nominee for Congress in Virginia's second congressional district."
Schrock's statement did not address the subject of the "allegations" against him, but Schrock's announcement comes shortly after the launch of an online "outing" campaign, in which the authors of various blogs have reported that Schrock had posted voice-mail messages on commercial telephone services soliciting men for sex.
The most persistent allegations have come from blogactive.com, which now has posted an audio file that the blog alleges is one of Schrock's voice-mail solicitations. "I just like to get together with a guy from time to time just to play," says the voice on the recording, which goes on to suggest specific gay sex acts.
"Words cannot express the gratitude I have for all of the people who have entrusted me to be their representative and have shown unwavering support. Together, we have accomplished so much for the people of Hampton Roads and the Eastern Shore," Schrock's written statement continued. "Although I am retiring from Congress, I still look forward to working within our community to make it stronger and an even better place to live and work."
Schrock, 63, was elected president of the Republican House freshman class in 2001 and was appointed by his party to the House Armed Services Committee, perhaps reflecting the large number of Navy bases in eastern Virginia. His conservative voting record rated a 92 rating (out of 100) from the Christian Coalition and a 0 rating from the gay rights group Human Rights Campaign.
The congressman's announcement leaves Democrat David B. Ashe temporarily unopposed for the House seat in Schrock's conservative district, which covers parts of Hampton, Norfolk, and Accomack and Northampton counties as well as all of Virginia Beach.
"Wow. I had not heard that. That's really something," Ashe said when a reporter called him at home, according to The Virginian-Pilot, a newspaper serving the region.