DULUTH, Minn. - State Representative Kerry Gauthier (DFL - Duluth) is now saying he will end his re-election bid for his District 7B seat in the Minnesota House.
Rep. Gauthier told KBJR-TV in Duluth that he decided just this afternoon to pull out of the race.
The announcement is a turnaround from an interview Gauthier made earlier in the day, saying he would let the voters decide his future.
The 56-year-old Gauthier has been in the spotlight since allegedly engaging in oral sex with a 17-year-old boy at a rest stop off Interstate 35 near Duluth in July.
Following a police investigation into the incident, the St. Louis County Attorney said no charges will be filed against Gauthier.
Gauthier also told the Associated Press an overdose of muscle relaxants he took last week was a suicide attempt.
Gauthier has been urged to step down by both parties in Minnesota since the news of the sex scandal broke. On Wednesday, state Sen. Roger Reinert (DFL-Duluth) urged Gauthier to skip the upcoming legislative special session, saying he would distract from the flood recovery effort.
Before Gauthier's announced his decision to not seek re-election, Lt. Governor Yvonne Prettner Solon released the following statment:
"Rep. Gauthier is my friend and I have offered my full support to him in his effort to regain his physical and emotional well-being.
Rep. Gauthier has been a strong voice for his community on the Duluth city council and in the state house, but sadly his actions and this tragic lapse in judgment have now affected his ability to effectively represent his constituents.
I'm asking Rep. Gauthier to not seek re-election and focus on regaining his health and well-being, while at the same time allowing the election to move forward in the best interest of Minnesota."
Gauthier told Northland's NewsCenter that there's too much political fallout and it's too hard on him psychologically and emotionally. He also said he does not know what he will do next.
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