An Arizona lawmaker accused of a string of violent and unethical behavior resigned from the state House on Wednesday before his fellow lawmakers could throw him out of office.
State Rep. Daniel Patterson of Tucson quit just hours after an ethics panel recommended he be removed from his seat and only a short time before the full House was scheduled to vote to do so.
In his resignation letter, Patterson said he was leaving because the legislature had become “very hostile work environment for me,” according to the Tucson Weekly.
The weekly newspaper was the first to uncover allegations of violence lodged by Patterson’s estranged wife back in 2010.
In recent months, more problems surfaced including allegations that he got violent with his girlfriend-turned-campaign manager, that he once tried to trade his vote for sex with a lobbyist, that he regularly smokes marijuana and that he was prone to angry outbursts that terrified some of his fellow lawmakers.
Patterson has denied being violent with the women in his life but acknowledged he “pushed it a little bit too hard” with his fellow lawmakers. Patterson also denied offering to trade his vote for sex and has said it’s nobody’s business whether he smokes pot.
Patterson was a longtime Democrat who switched his party registration to independent amid the scandal. The AP reported that he changed his party registration back to Democrat on Wednesday after resigning.
Nick Martin is an associate editor at TPM in New York City. He came to the site in 2011 as a reporter for TPMMuckraker. Previously, he worked in Arizona, first as a staff reporter for a local newspaper and later as a freelance journalist. He also ran the news blog Heat City. Contact him: nick [at] talkingpointsmemo.com