On Wednesday December 13th, Kentucky lawmaker Dan Johnson committed suicide after allegations surfaced that he had molested a 17-year-old girl who was a member of his church. Now, his wife, Rebecca Johnson, who co-pastored the church with him, says she will run for his seat.
When she'd announced she'd run, she continued to defend her husband's memory. She said she'd run because “these high-tech lynchings based on lies and half-truths can’t be allowed to win the day.”
In a statement Thursday, a day after Dan Johnson’s suicide, Rebecca Johnson said she has been fighting behind her husband for 30 years and “his fight will go on,” reported AP.
“Dan is gone but the story of his life is far from over,” Johnson said.
Johnson shot himself Wednesday night two days after leaders of both major political parties called for his resignation. The Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting published allegations that he sexually assaulted a 17-year-old girl in the basement of his home in 2013.
Police investigated the charge at the time, but they closed the case without filing charges. The KYCIR story prompted the police to re-open the investigation.
Through it all, Rebecca Johnson was by her husband’s side. During a news conference he gave at his church on Tuesday, she defended her husband and commented on the current political climate.
It's a terrible political climate. Never in my lifetime have I ever seen such a vicious climate...It is a shameful time, and I pray that the media changes the way they do things," said Rebecca on Tuesday.
Republican lawmakers from Kentucky have been mourning Johnson's loss. They have offered support to those who are in the same mental state, and they offered consolation to his family.
State Rep. C. Wesley Morgan took to Twitter to mourn his friend. He blamed his party and the media for Johnson's death.
Hours later, Morgan shared the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline‘s 1-800 number, and said: “People will say and do terrible things to you in this world. But nothing is worth taking your life.”
Sen. Rand Paul also tweeted about Johnson’s death, saying: “I cannot imagine his pain or the heartbreak his family is dealing with.”
Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin (R) said he was saddened by the news of Johnson’s death, writing on Twitter: “My heart breaks for his family … May God indeed shed His grace on us all.”
Bevin also called for an end to “all the nasty, vulgar comments & other despicable responses to the news.”
What do you think about Johnson's widow running to fill his seat? Let us know in the comments. In other news, Paul Ryan responds to rumors that he's retiring in 2018.