THE GREENVILLE GAZETTE:
Tennessee state Representative Jeremy Durham has added his name to the list of scandal shamed “conservatives” who have campaigned publicly as “family values crusaders” while engaging in all sorts of hanky panky behind closed doors. However, this being the 21st century, it’s getting increasingly harder to keep these kind of secrets safely under wraps. It appears Rep. Durham’s luck has finally run out – and at the worst possible time.
It seems that the recent “transgender bathroom flap” was the spark that burned Jeremy Durham and sealed his fate as a publicly known sexual offender. Rep. Durham recently sponsored a bill, known as House Bill 2414, that would bar transgendered individuals from using the women’s bathroom in public places, such as restaurants, bars, public buildings, etc. This bill would supposedly give protection to women who would otherwise be at serious risk of assault from transgenders and/or men posing as women in order to have easy access to them.
Meanwhile, Durham himself has been literally exiled from his office at the House of Representatives because of harassment charges stemming from 34 different women. The current Speaker of the House, Beth Harwell, had to order Durham’s offices to be moved across the street from the House after these allegations came to her attention. She also ordered Durham’s access to the House itself to be strictly limited in order to minimize the danger that Durham posed to women on the grounds of the property.
This action came in the wake of a public warning issued by Attorney General Herbert Slatery to the effect that Durham posed a “serious risk” to female employees that are employed by Representatives or otherwise work in the building. As a result of these rulings, Durham is severely limited in his movements when inside the building, and is basically chaperoned at every step.
Of course, these aren’t the first allegations that Rep. Durham has faced in his long and infamous career. As was the case for many years, Durham badgered, groped, harassed, and threatened women at will because they were simply too afraid of losing their positions if they took steps to report it. Durham was simply too powerful and had too many connections to back him up if he came under fire for his actions. As a result, although he has been cited many times for his harassment and threats, Durham has never faced a serious backlash – until now.
In the wake of the Bill Cosby case, which has largely been played out in the court of public opinion, Durham may well find himself out of favor with the Washington “Old Boys’ Club” and soon after out of office. The tide of public opinion is turning against “family values” hypocrisy. Even as Durham runs for reelection, he may find that his recent pandering to the public over “transgender hysteria” is the time bomb that will soon blow up in his face.
Durham suspends re-election campaign but won't resign
In a stunning about-face, embattled Republican Jeremy Durham announced Thursday he will suspend his re-election campaign but did not say he is resigning from the legislature.
"The great majority of the anonymous allegations in the AG report are either completely false or taken completely out of context. But there are a handful of interactions in there that are true," Durham said, reading a brief statement at his attorney's office in downtown Nashville.
"And while my best intentions may have been harmless, there were times where my communication was less than professional, and that is something for which I accept full responsibility and for which I apologize."
Durham blasted the investigation and House Speaker Beth Harwell and said he never had any sexual contact or attempted to have sexual contact with any of the women in the report. He refused to answer questions.
Harwell fired back at Durham minutes after the announcement.
“Representative Durham’s denials are insulting to the brave women whose testimony was detailed in the report. Representative Durham needs to make absolutely clear he is not seeking re-election," Harwell said in a statement.
Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey, who earlier in the day said Durham's conduct made the outgoing senator want to "smack him in the mouth," also slammed Durham for not resigning.
"His actions were beyond disgraceful. Suspending his campaign but refusing to resign is an affront to the women of this state and the taxpayers who pay his salary," Ramsey said.