Duluth state Rep. Kerry Gauthier announced Wednesday night he will not seek a second term after unrelenting calls from DFL party leaders to step aside after admitting to police he had oral sex with a 17-year-old boy at an interstate rest area in Duluth.
"I am done," Gauthier told the Star Tribune late Wednesday. "I just need to take care of myself right now and I am not really up for that kind of fight."
Gauthier infuriated DFL colleagues earlier in the day when they learned he would seek a second term. They had spent past days urging Gauthier to bow out of the race in the longtime DFL stronghold. Gauthier’s decision comes at a feverish time in Democrats campaign to win control of the Minnesota House, which Republicans seized as part of a 2010 legislative landslide.
"I fully support his decision, which brings to an end an unfortunate chapter and will allow the legislature to focus this week on the approval of much-needed relief for those Minnesotans impacted by the recent storms and floods," said House Minority Leader Paul Thissen, DFL-Minneapolis.
Earlier in the day, Gov. Mark Dayton said his decision to run again is “destructive” to himself and the DFL.
“It goes beyond the morals of Minnesotans,” Dayton said. “I believe he is unfit to serve beyond this term.”
State Rep. Tom Huntley, DFL-Duluth, called Gauthier a "child molester," even though Gauthier was not charged with a crime.
Gauthier told a local television station that after the authorities made the police report public, he took several muscle relaxants and was found unconscious. Gauthier was in the hospital when leaders began calling for him to either resign or not seek re-election.
Gauther said he didn't want to subject his supporters to the fallout from the last few days.