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Rep. Chris Lee resigns amid Craigslist scandal

Only hours separated the publication of Craigslist messages from Rep. Chris Lee (R-NY) and his resignation.
Daniel Robison
Only hours separated the publication of Craigslist messages from Rep. Chris Lee (R-NY) and his resignation.

Congressman Chris Lee (R-NY) has resigned effective immediately, according toa statement he posted on his House website

The announcement came only hours after Gawker.com published emails and compromising photos Lee sent to an unidentified woman on Craigslist. Reaction around the blogosphere and Twitter are calling Wednesday's events as one of the fastest-unfolding scandals in political history. 

The Republican just began his second term and was named to the House Ways and Means Committee, one of Washington's most influential.

Lee is 46 years old and resides in Amherst. Prior to his election, he was a businessman in western New York.

According to the Washington Post, a special election must be held to fill the 26th District's empty seat.

The power to call the special election falls to Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D). There is no set deadline for a special election to be called but once it is called, it must be held between 30 and 40 days after that date.The district, which Lee won easily in 2010, includes parts or all of Monroe, Orleans, Niagara, Genesee, Wyoming and Livingston counties.

Depending on the candidates, it could be a tough race: John McCain narrowly won the district in 2008 (52 to 48 percent).

Lee's statement: 

"It has been a tremendous honor to serve the people of Western New York. I regret the harm that my actions have caused my family, my staff and my constituents. 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. 

"The challenges we face in Western New York and across the country are too serious for me to allow this distraction to continue, and so I am announcing that I have resigned my seat in Congress effective immediately." 

WBFO/Western New York reporter for the Innovation Trail.
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