A rising liberal star running for Congress in Kansas has dropped out of the race over a 2005 federal lawsuit in which she was accused of sexually harassing a male employee whom she supervised.
Andrea Ramsey, 56, of Leawood, was looking to challenge incumbent Republican Kevin Yoder in 2018 in the Kansas City-area 3rd District but announced in a Facebook post that she would be ending her campaign Friday.
Ramsey called the allegations made by her former employee at LabOne, Gary Funkhouser, “a lie.”
“Twelve years ago, I eliminated an employee’s position,” Ramsey wrote. “That man decided to bring a lawsuit against the company (not against me). He named me in the allegations, claiming I fired him because he refused to have sex with me. That is a lie.”
Funkhouser worked under Ramsey at LabOne where she was an executive vice president of human resources. Funkhouser claimed Ramsey came on to him in 2005 during a business trip, the Kansas City Star reported.
“After I told her I was not interested in having a sexual relationship with her, she stopped talking to me,” he wrote in a complaint. “In the office she completely ignored me and avoided having any contact with me.”
Funkhouser claimed Ramsey had his work station moved out of her office.
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission closed the case on Funkhouser’s claims, stating it was unable to determine if any “statutes had been violated.”
Funkhouser then sued LabOne in federal court and both parties agreed to dismiss the case in 2006. Multiple sources told the Kansas City Star that Funkhouser and LabOne had reached a settlement.
The allegations resurfaced after the Kansas City Star questioned Ramsey about them.
Ramsey said the national Democratic party declined to support her over the lawsuit.
“In its rush to claim the high ground in our roiling national conversation about harassment, the Democratic Party has implemented a zero-tolerance standard,” Ramsey said. “For me, that means a vindictive, terminated employee’s false allegations are enough for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) to decide not to support our promising campaign. We are in a national moment where rough justice stands in place of careful analysis, nuance and due process.”
Emily’s List, a liberal women’s group, which supported and raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for Ramsey’s campaign, said they supported the Democratic hopeful’s decision.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.