Strong criticism continues to surround Minnesota Rep. Kerry Gauthier after his sexual encounter with a 17-year-old boy at a Duluth rest stop in July. Gauthier is now being urged by the party to step down and make way for some other candidate.
According to police reports, Kerry Gauthier was in a sexual relationship with a boy he met via Craigslist on July 22. Both parties were willing and the sex was not forced. Moreover, since the boy is above the legal age of consent and there was no money exchanged, authorities say that Gauthier would not be charged. Nonetheless, the incident has tarnished the reputation of Gauthier and house leaders on both sides have asked the representative not to seek re-election this November.
"This has an impact on our efforts to re-take the majority," Senator Roger Reinert said. "This has an impact and on the vote no campaign. For my part, I'm asking representative Gauthier to make a decision quickly so that we can move forward from what has happened and focus instead on what is to come."
According to MSNBC, if Gauthier resigns now it might be too late to remove his name from the ballot. Still some argue that the party would have enough time to take in another candidate in Gauthier’s place if he decides to step down.
DFL Chair Ken Martin also condemned the act during a statement issued on Monday. "The situation involving Kerry Gauthier is deeply unfortunate, both for Gauthier's constitutes, and for our party. His actions are inexcusable; nobody in our party condones what he did, nor will we defend him in this matter," Martin said.
Assistant Fire Chief of the Duluth Fire Department, Erik Simonson has stepped up to fill Gauthier’s seat as the new write-in candidate, launching a bid on Tuesday. However, a Duluth news network reports that Gauthier has refused to drop out of the race despite pressure from the party because he still feels that he’s the best person to represent the district.
Reinert says that he has not been able to talk to Gauthier since the scandal surfaced like most of the news networks.
"I have been very patient in giving him time to come out and answer questions and talk to the public," Reinert said. "It's obviously a very difficult situation for him personally as well as within his role as a representative. For me that window is closing today."