Wyoming secretary of state won’t run for governor after harassment allegations

(Alan Rogers | The Casper Star-Tribune | AP) In a May 10, 2017 photo, Wyoming Secretary of State Ed Murray meets with members of the Casper Star-Tribune staff in Casper, Wyo. Murray says he will neither seek a second term nor run for governor now that another woman accuses him of sexual misconduct decades ago.

Casper, Wyo. • Wyoming Secretary of State Ed Murray announced Tuesday he would not seek a second term and had decided not to run for governor this year after a second woman came forward with an accusation of sexual misconduct dating from decades ago.

Murray forcibly kissed her in front of his home after she’d been babysitting for his family on New Year’s Eve 1988, Theresa Sullivan Twiford told the Casper Star-Tribune in a statement.

Twiford was 18 at the time. After saying goodnight, she said, she went outside and Murray followed her to her car.

“As I walked around to the driver’s side, Ed continued to follow me. I opened the driver’s door but before I could sit down, Ed came up to me and abruptly put both of his hands on either side of my face, pulled me to him and forcibly kissed me,” Twiford said in the statement.

The statement added: “I was shocked and appalled. As I backed away from him, he said, ‘Everyone should have a kiss on New Year’s Eve.’”

Murray said in a statement he had “absolutely no recollection of this incident” but would not seek higher office this year. The 59-year-old Republican had been considering running for governor.

He has denied a claim made in December by Tatiana Maxwell, of Boulder, Colo., that he forced her to the floor and sexually attacked her when they met for after-hours pizza and beer in a Cheyenne law office where both worked over 35 years ago.

Murray did not respond to a request Tuesday for an interview.

Twiford is a daughter of Mike Sullivan, who was Wyoming’s Democratic governor when the kissing incident allegedly occurred. Twiford said she decided to come forward after the claim by Maxwell, whom she said she doesn’t know.

“I had always said to my husband that if someone else were to come forward with a similar allegation, I would consider speaking out as well,” Twiford said in her statement.

Both Twiford, who is a real estate agent in Virginia, and Maxwell are Democrats. They said they were not motivated by politics in making their accusations public.

“I may have been more likely to report it up at the time if I hadn’t come from a political family,” Twiford said in an email. “Even now it makes it harder to tell the story, because so many are more eager to make it about their politics than to address inappropriate sexual conduct in its own right.”