The Republican congressman from New York’s 26th district stepped down Wednesday after Gawker posted e-mails purportedly between Lee and a woman who posted on the “Women for Men” section of the classifieds site Craiglist. The flirty but mostly PG back-and-forth included a photo of what appears to be the married, 46-year-old congressman sans shirt.
“I regret the harm that my actions have caused my family, my staff and my constituents,” Lee wrote in statement. “I deeply and sincerely apologize to them all. I have made profound mistakes and I promise to work as hard as I can to seek their forgiveness.”
In the e-mails, Lee reportedly claimed to be a 39-year-old divorced lobbyist looking for a date and described himself as a “fit, fun, classy guy.”
Former Democratic congressman Eric Massa, also from western New York, resigned last year following allegations of unrequited tickling. Governor Andrew Cuomo can call a special election to fill Lee’s seat in the historically Republican district, but there’s no set deadline under New York law.