TOMPKINS COUNTY, N.Y.—Rep. Tom Reed, who serves in the U.S. House of Representatives for the 23rd Congressional District in New York, announced Sunday that he would not be seeking re-election to the House when his term is up in 2022. He further announced that he wouldn’t be seeking any public office in 2022, ruling him out of the race for governor of New York—Reed had long been a rumored challenger to Governor Andrew Cuomo.

Reed’s announcement comes two days after a Washington Post story in which he was accused of sexual misconduct by former lobbyist Nicolette Davis. Davis, a lobbyist for insurance company Aflac, said that Reed was drunk at a bar after a donor dinner in Minneapolis in 2017, placed his hand on her back, unclasped her bra and began to move his hand up her thigh before she asked another person at the bar for help. Reed disputed the allegations initially, though in his statement Sunday he seemed to acknowledge some wrongdoing.

“First, I apologize to Nicolette Davis,” Reed wrote. “Even though I am only hearing of this matter as stated by Ms. Davis in the article now, I hear her voice and will not dismiss her. In reflection, my personal depiction of this event is irrelevant. Simply put, my behavior caused her pain, showed her disrespect and was unprofessional. I was wrong, I am sorry, and I take full responsibility.”

Reed, in the statement, also announced that he is in recovery from alcoholism and underwent treatment in 2017. That treatment came, apparently, after the incident with Davis, though Reed does not specify. He extensively apologizes to Davis, his constituents and his family in the statement. He ends by stating explicitly that he “will not be running for any elected office in 2022.” More specifically, the statement said that Reed had promised at the time of his first election in 2010 to serve a maximum of six terms (12 years) in the House and that he was honoring that promise by “retiring from public service on Jan. 2nd, 2023.”

“I plan to dedicate my time and attention to making amends for my past actions,” Reed said. “In addition to apologizing to those I have impacted, including Ms. Davis, I will be seeking to help those wrestling with addiction in any way I can. To others who may be struggling the way I have, please know that by seeking help your life will be forever changed in an extremely positive way. Though the journey is hard please know the rewards are amazing and you are worth it.”

Reed’s been reelected several times with relative ease, even though the staunch conservative is reviled in deep-blue Ithaca and other parts of Tompkins County. His last trip to Ithaca included a staged delivery of a US flag to City Hall in November, though he was refused entry because City Hall is closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

It’s a stark contrast to the tone that Reed was striking previously about his future in politics—he told Fox News last month that he was eyeing a run for governor of New York, especially as Cuomo deals with a rash of his own scandals, including investigations over his nursing home policies during the COVID-19 pandemic and a growing list of women accusing him of misconduct or harassment.

“As I go forward, I will strive to be a better human being, continue to fight for what I believe in, and to make people’s lives better in any way I can,” Reed concluded. “I hope this formal apology is just the start.”

Matt Butler

Matt Butler is the Education & Public Health Reporter at the Ithaca Voice. He can be reached by email at mbutler@ithacavoice.com