(CNN)The Nebraska Democratic Party on Tuesday asked its nominee for US Senate to withdraw from the race, citing a sexually inappropriate text message reported by a female former campaign staffer.
Chris Janicek, the party’s nominee running against Nebraska Republican Sen. Ben Sasse, told CNN that in late May he sent a text message to a group including himself, the female former staffer and four other campaign staffers. He characterized the message as “simply repeating what she had said earlier in the week, that she needed to get laid.””I’m an openly gay man running for senate against Ben Sasse, so it was not sexual harassment, it was something that had been discussed between her and a girlfriend,” Janicek said, later adding that he had overheard the staffer’s phone conversation at campaign headquarters.He declined to provide other details about or share copies of the text message, but stressed that he saw that sending the message was wrong.”It was unacceptable, it was inappropriate and it was wrong,” Janicek said. “I immediately apologized. I reached out to all people involved in the text, emailed and apologized to them. I apologized verbally to the one person it was about, and sent a personal handwritten letter apologizing and I met with her in person to apologize again and to ensure that she received my letter.”Read MoreThe Associated Press first reported the party’s call for Janicek to withdraw. The AP reported that it had obtained copies of Janicek’s texts, which showed that — in addition to his remark that “she needed to get laid” — Janicek said that “it will probably take three guys” and explicitly described a hypothetical group sex scene including the female staffer. The party said in a statement that the former female staffer, “who has since quit the campaign, sent a copy of the text message last week to the party and filed a formal complaint with the NDP on Monday afternoon” via the party’s Code of Conduct process.While the party demanded Thursday that he withdraw, per the statement, Janicek may still appear on the ballot. The party can only replace Janicek on the ballot for the November election if he files a required form with the Nebraska Secretary of State, according to the party.Despite the state party’s request that he withdraw, Janicek told CNN that he “did not consider it ever.””I’d like to just move on with the campaign, but the Nebraska Democratic Party has taken it in another direction,” he said.The party’s State Executive Committee voted unanimously Monday evening to revoke all party resources from Janicek’s campaign, according to the party’s statement.”Our Democratic Party has no tolerance for sexual harassment,” NDP Chair Jane Kleeb said in a statement. “Our Party will not extend resources or any type of support to any candidate that violates our code of conduct and doesn’t treat men and women with the dignity and respect they deserve.”Janicek, who runs cupcake shops in Omaha, beat six other Democratic candidates who were on the ballot for the Democratic Senate primary last month. Sasse’s Senate seat has been categorized by The Cook Political Report as “Solid Republican.”