Indiana Rep. Souder says he'll resign over affair

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Indiana Republican Rep. Mark Souder announced Tuesday he would resign from Congress, effective Friday, because he had an affair with a staffer.

The eight-term congressman apologized for his actions but provided no details.

"I am so ashamed to have hurt the ones I love," he said at a news conference in Fort Wayne. "I am sorry to have let so many friends down, people who have worked so hard for me."

Souder's decision could damage the Republicans' chances of holding onto the GOP-leaning district in northeastern Indiana. Souder won a bruising Republican primary on May 4 with 48 percent of the vote and was to face the Democratic candidate who four years ago gave him the toughest challenge since he was first elected in 1994.

Souder, 59, said he would not be a candidate in the fall election. It will be up to Republican Gov. Mitch Daniels to decide whether to call a special election to fill the vacancy or wait until the November ballot.

"I sinned against God, my wife and my family by having a mutual relationship with a part-time member of my staff," Souder said. "In the poisonous environment of Washington, D.C., any personal failing is seized upon and twisted for political gain. I am resigning rather than put my family through a painful drawn out process."

Souder has been married to his wife, Diane, since 1974, according to the biography on his office website. They have three adult children and two grandchildren.

Souder won the Republican primary over car dealer Bob Thomas, who spent much of his own money on television commercials portraying Souder as a career politician who wasn't a true fiscal conservative. Souder countered by emphasizing his A-plus marks from the National Rifle Association and 100-percent rating from the National Right to Life Committee.

Souder had been expected to face a stiff contest against Democrat Tom Hayhurst, a former Fort Wayne city councilman who got 46 percent of the vote against Souder in 2006. Nevertheless, the 3rd Congressional District has a strong Republican tilt; John McCain carried the district by more than 10 points in the 2008 presidential election.

One possible Republican replacement for Souder is state Sen. Marlin Stutzman of Howe, who finished second to former Sen. Dan Coats in this month's GOP primary for the U.S. Senate.

Hayhurst said in statement that his thoughts and prayers were with Souder and his family.

"I'm not running for Congress to run against anyone, but I'm running because I think I can help change Washington and that will not change not matter who is in the race," Hayhurst said.

Souder's resignation continues a significant turnover among Indiana's congressional delegation this year.

Democratic Sen. Evan Bayh announced in February he wouldn't seek re-election, saying he had tired of Congress. Democratic Rep. Brad Ellsworth is leaving his southern Indiana seat to run for Bayh's position.

Republican Rep. Steve Buyer said he January he wouldn't seek a 10th term in the House after his wife was diagnosed with an incurable autoimmune disease.


  • Souder
    He even had the gall to hold television interviews with his mistress, talking about abstinence, gays and other right-wing hatreds.

    Stupid. Stupid. Stupid.
  • BerwickGuy
    ". . . not begging his constituents for forgiveness is not consistent with being a hypocrite."

    People who presume to tell others how to live moral lives, expound on the virtues of abstinence (for others, of course, not for themselves), demonize those they know nothing about and fear, and practice the opposite of what they preach, are hypocrites.

    In this instance, a sanctimonious, moralistic, family-values spouting, Republican hypocrite. Just one of very many.
  • And
    He didn't "man up" (what a revealing choice of words). He got caught. Did you even read the story?
  • BerwickGuy
    To paraphrase Jon Stewart - "If you don't stick to your values when they're tested, they're not values, they're....hobbies." I get that you really like the prodigal son aspect of this story, but the prodigal son didn't make abstinence tapes with his mistress before he went off the rails.
  • Souder

    I didn't say Souder was a man of integrity. If he was, he would never have gotten himself in this mess in the first place. I only said that he finally manned up to his sin. The fact that he is resigning and not begging his constituents for forgiveness is not consistent with being a hypocrite.

    As I said before, they all need to be turned out of office anyway. Souder is just one of the first to catch the bus back home.
    • Souder
      Another sanctimonious, moralistic, family-values spouting, Republican hypocrite. So what else is new?
      • And
        this is really pretty easy to resolve. They stay out of our bedrooms, we'll stay out of theirs. Then maybe we can start electing politicians based on things like policies and abilities and intelligence.
      • Actually
        He first tried to deny it and said it was "revenge politics." Now he's blaming the corrupt air of Washington, DC, as though he hasn't been there for 16 years. Hardly the man of integrity you are attempting to present.
        • Politics Doesn't Matter
          It is unfortunate that we cannot find in either political party people who are honorable. Washington DC has become a center for infidelity. Before anyone blames anyone in a political party, take a look at the morals portrayed on tv. Kids learn from Sesame St and everyone learns from reality tv as well as fictional tv. Men and women who intend to be moral and upright are soon lost in the distorted cultural shuffle of their peers and the media. People have become brain-dead and women, treated like empty-headed playthings, are objects to be owned by a man. The religious right and the liberal left are equally disgusting, while the rest of us work to pay the bills with no time for this outrageous behavior.
        • Talk is Cheap
          I don't mix my religion with politics.

          My religion has MUCH higher standards.

          That's the point.
        • Church of England

          There's a huge difference between government and politics. Souders attempt and setting himself right with God is what is expected of anyone of faith. That has nothing to do with his or others role in government. Be realistic, the sin is always against God, not the government.

          He didn't ask that all people become religious or that the government be all Christian, yet you want to blast him. I lost a lot of respect for Clinton when he lied and then tried to say he made a mistake. Hardly, he did what he did on purpose and knew it was wrong.

          As I said before, Souder manned up, admitted his sin, said he wants to make it right with his family and God and bows out of politics. And you puff out your chest and demean him for doing the right thing. Seems like he deserves a little respect for doing so.

          Sucks to be you, Church of England, with an attitude like that. I hope you can get in touch with faith and the real God someday.

          • Souder

            You missed the point. Heck yes, I'm just as critical of Repubs. In fact I'm in favor of throwing out all incumbents in Washington for not doing their jobs period!

            However, the point I was trying to make was that Souder owned up to his sin. He didn't take a cut from Clinton or Tiger Woods and say he made a mistake. Goodness knows that anyone who enters into an affair does it willingly. A mistake is when someone does something unintentionally. Souder did this intentionally hoping he woudn't get caught, just like Clinton and Woods. But at least he's not begging the public's forgiveness so he can keep his seat in Congress. I hardly think that is being a Hypocrite. I can respect Souder for manning up to his sin and bowing out.

          • Invoking Lords Name
            Why do these politicians feel increasingly compelled to invoke religion into government and politics at every turn?

            Yet another reason to strengthen the legal separation between church and state in the United States.

            We shouldnâ??t tolerate the exchange of theocracy for democracy by these pandering politicians determined to make us more like Iran with a different twist.

            Our nationâ??s greatest strengths are based upon our openness and its freedoms to all.
            • but what did it have to do with global terrorism?
              Souder is the Ranking Member on the House Homeland Security Subcommittee on Border, Maritime, and Global Counterterrorism. He is also a senior member of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee and the House Education and Labor Committee. He is co-founder and co-chairman of the Congressional National Parks Caucus. He is also co-founder and co-chairman of the Congressional Caucus on Drug Policy.
              Until the start of the 110th Congress, Souder was chairman of the House Government Reform Subcommittee on Criminal Justice, Drug Policy and Human Resources. The subcommittee had authorizing jurisdiction over the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy and it oversaw all U.S. Government anti-narcotics operations, both foreign and domestic. In addition, the panel had broad oversight authority covering the National Park Service, the White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives and the Smithsonian.
            • Come on
              Shall we never ever say anything negative about any Republican? Would you find nothing wrong with a Republican President, 100 Republican Senators, and 435 Republican Congressmen, and all Republican Supreme Court? I know most Republicans feel they can do no wrong. And if they do, they ask God for forgiveness and keep on doing the same thing. But seriously, you Repubs should look at things with just a little more open mind. In fact, you may just enjoy life if you do.
              • Souder
                Big Daddy:

                And the Lord said, "Let the first without sin cast the first stone."

                Just remember, we all mess up, to different extents. At least he is attempting to wipe the slate clean and is not trying to continue in politics. Couldn't say as much for the Kennedy family, now could you?
                • Another One Bites The Dust
                  Wow, another conservative, family values politician showing their true colors. What a HYPOCRITE. Is anyone really surprised??

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