Humbled Minn. Sen. Koch Says No Reelection Bid

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — State Sen. Amy Koch said Monday that she is sticking with her decision not to seek re-election after engaging in a relationship with a subordinate, despite comments last week that her previous announcement may have been “hasty.”

The former majority leader, who resigned her leadership post last month after fellow senators confronted her about reports of an affair with a Senate employee, told The Associated Press that she hopes she can “close the book” on the scandal that cost the leadership job.

Koch, of Buffalo, spent nearly a year as a high-profile spokeswoman for the Republican agenda at the Capitol, and now faces life as a rank-and-file lawmaker — “one of 67,” she said, referring to the number of senators. After more than a month of seclusion, Koch is preparing to be back in the public eye when the 2012 legislative session begins on Tuesday.

Still, Koch declined to comment on key details that have gone undisclosed. She would not name the employee with whom she had an affair, and declined to express an opinion on how her colleagues handled the events leading to her resignation. Koch, 40, said she is still married but declined to elaborate. She was not wearing a wedding ring.

“I think the work product of the last year speaks here for itself, and it didn’t affect my job performance,” Koch said of the relationship. “It’s very personal and private, and there’s a lot I have to work out. Most people have had some kind of difficulty or pain in their lives, and they know how difficult that is.”

After helping to engineer the first Republican takeover of the state Senate in decades during the 2010 election, Koch became the institution’s first-ever female majority leader. She resigned abruptly Dec. 15, saying she had decided not to seek re-election and felt the caucus would be better led by someone interested in staying in the Senate.

A day later, several of Koch’s colleagues held a news conference to disclose that a group of them had confronted her earlier in the week with allegations of an affair with a male employee under her supervision. His identity has never been revealed publicly.

Even some Republicans have criticized how the matter was handled, both the confrontation and the ensuing news conference. Koch said she and her fellow Republicans hashed out their feelings in a closed-door meeting on Dec. 27, when a new majority leader was elected. They jointly decided not to air grievances in public.

“I’m going to keep my opinions on that to myself,” Koch said.

Some pundits and political watchers have suggested Koch was more harshly treated than a male politician in a similar position would have been.

“I’ve heard that, many people have brought that to my attention — both sides of the aisle, men and women,” Koch said. “I’m just not one to play gender politics, so I don’t think it serves to look back and rehash. I think it’s important to accept what happened and move forward, and so that’s what I’m going to do.”

Koch’s downfall comes at a time when politicians’ private lives are again under scrutiny, most notably with the presidential campaign of Newt Gingrich, who is a contender in the GOP race even after acknowledging past infidelity for which he said he has sought forgiveness. Koch — whose new Capitol office, on a separate floor from her former leadership suite, features a framed picture of her with Gingrich — said politicians have to accept that voters will judge them on their private lives.

“You’re in the public eye and that will happen,” Koch said. “I don’t know whether it’s fair.”

In interviews late last week with the (Minneapolis) Star Tribune and WCCO-TV, Koch noted an outpouring of support in the last month and said her decision not to seek re-election may have been “hasty.” On Monday, she retreated a bit from those comments and said she’s still planning to leave the Senate at end of the year.

“What I said is, people have been very supportive, very kind, and it’s been a little bit overwhelming,” Koch said. “But at this point, my Dec. 15 statement — where I said I was not running — stands.”

Last week, Senate Democratic Leader Tom Bakk said Koch should apologize on the Senate floor for damage she did to the institution. Koch said she felt a Dec. 21 written statement, where she acknowledged the improper relationship and apologized to colleagues, was enough.

“It was very heartfelt, and it was indisputably public, so I would hope that suffices,” Koch said.

At a news conference Monday, state Democratic Party Chairman Ken Martin said he did not believe Koch should face a Senate ethics investigation.

“”It’s not fair to her or her family to be dragged through the mud,” said Martin. “It’s in the past.”

(© Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

  • j speedbag 64

    nobody cares just another worthless politician bites the dust……get lost amy….

    • give it a pounding

      I care! Wouldn’t mind putting some whitecaps on that backside either!

      • Newt

        I don’t know what that even means but you can count me in!!

        • Fishing Guru

          I think it means, that while in a standing position behind her, pounding it. That the ripples going across that very large torso would produce whitecaps?

  • MrB

    I care, I care she finally made a right choice!

  • Jesse Ventura

    I’d like to tap that, now that she isn’t going to run its open season, same place same time baby?

  • Laura

    But she was the first one to vote for the constitutional amendment for gay marriage on the basis that we need to protect the sanctity of marriage… Really Sen. Koch, really…. you cheating does not affect the sanctity of your marriage but me marrying the love of my life does… WOW, I said that’s pretty hypocrite

  • tan pup

    Boy what a piece of work. She is an embarrassment – if she wants to be on TV she should audition for the Biggest Loser – she’s perfect for that show, FAT, drama queen, and a self absorbed bully! It would be a delight to see the trainers put Amy in her place. BL Season 13 contestants should be former disgraced congress people – it would be great watching them compete! The blue and red teams! I think I will submit the idea to NBC . . .

  • Little Tin God

    Well at least she still believes in the sanctity of marriage. Not hers maybe, but she still believes.

  • Balanced Beam

    Classy response by the DFL Chair. Well done, Mr. Martin.

    • Finally, Partisanship!

      Maybe he’s got something to hide. There’s definitely enough to go around.

  • Character flaw

    An opportunist puts out the feelers and gets the door slammed in her porcine face.

  • David

    How many of the Republicasn that are embrassed by Sen. Koch are supporting Newt Gingrich?

  • joel

    Mcdonalds is hiring and she can get free meals,she could save some money that way

  • james2

    I apologize to the Koch family in advance, but until Amy decides to help rescind that amendment, she will not soon forget what it’s like to hurt others in the name of traditional marriage. Senjum, who has pontificated that adultery is forgivable but being gay is not, will be heralded as the new messiah of the GOP. After all, he has forgiven her.

    Just keep blaming them gays Amy, and you’ll do just fine.

    • tight grip

      James, with all do respect….go beat your meat.

      • tighter grin

        What are you saying tight grin? I think it’s spot on, somewhat humerous, a bit sarcastic, well done all around.

        It is God’s Own Party.

  • Murph

    A typical case of she could run ,but she couldn’t hide! One less holier than thou GOP’er to have to listen to!

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