DENVER (CBS4) – Colorado State Republican Sen. Randy Baumgardner is retiring. Last legislative session the Senate voted against expelling the GOP senator.
He was accused of inappropriate touching of a former legislative aide. On Monday evening, Sen. Baumgardner said he didn’t want to put his family through any future possible explusion proceedings.
An independent investigation earlier this year had determined claims that Baumgardner harassed the former aide were credible. The former aide said that Baumgardner grabbed and slapped her buttocks on more than one occasion during the 2016 session.
Baumgardner denied wrongdoing. The Republican represents the Sulphur Springs area.
The senator’s retiring is the latest revelation from the Colorado Legislature over sexual harassment allegations involving several lawmakers that arose with the #MeToo movement. That movement saw millions of women taking to social media to publicize their experiences with sexual harassment.
In Colorado, Baumgardner stepped down as chair of the powerful transportation committee.
In a letter to the Secretary of State, Sen. Baumgardner said,
“I’ve learned many lessons with none being as important as to always put your family first. My family’s resilience and love have given me the grace to continue forward under the most difficult circumstances, and in light of new opportunities, I must put them first.”
Baumgardner did not address the allegations in his letter.
Republican Senate President Kevin Grantham had deemed the case closed and previously refused to allow the expulsion resolution to be introduced.
Democrats argued that the resolution should be debated, in part, to send a message that complaints are taken seriously. Democrats now control the State Senate.
Earlier this year, the State House of Representatives expelled Rep. Steve Lebsock over similar accusations.
The legislature convenes on Jan. 4 for the 2019 session. Baumgarner is retiring Jan. 21.
A Republican vacancy committee will choose his replacement.