The Republican-majority North Dakota House on Thursday voted to expel one of its own members accused by multiple women of threatening and sexually harassing behavior.
Luke Simons was voted out by a large margin, 69-25. Republicans hold 80 seats of the body's 94 seats.
"A 14-page document compiled by the nonpartisan Legislative Council includes allegations that Simons made 'advances' toward female staffers and interns, commented on their appearances and tried to give one staffer an unsolicited shoulder massage. One staffer described his behavior as 'really creepy,'" the AP reports. "The Legislative Council this week released two additional documents alleging inappropriate and bizarre behavior by Simons."
One of his Republican colleagues "issued a statement last week saying that his harassment was so pervasive that she switched desks to get away from him."
Another allegation included one from a woman who "alleged that Simons once placed his lunch box in her office before leaving to use the restroom and said, 'bet you hope there's not a bomb in there, huh.'"
A rancher and a barber, Simons is married with five children. He has denied all the allegations and refused to resign, despite allegations going back to shortly after he took office in 2017. He says his accusers have "twisting my words."
Simons is the member of a pro-gun, limited government group in the House called the Bastiat Caucus. His Facebook page includes posts that indicate he is anti-vaxx, anti-mask, anti-taxes, anti-choice, opposes the $15 minimum wage, and denies climate change.
Late last month Rob Port in an opinion piece for The Grand Forks Herald wrote about an "incident that was the last straw for many who work in the Capitol building…when Simons was asked by Rep. Karla Rose Hanson, a Fargo Democrat, to put on his mask. Simons answered with 'f— off' and 'you're not my f—— mother,' an outburst that shocked observers."
Several lawmakers have told me off the record that they're pushing legislative leaders to censure and possibly expel Simons from the House. "If we don't do something about this guy he's going to do something crazier and we'll regret it," one Bismarck-area Republican told me.