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Woman in affair that brought down ex-GOP Rep. Murphy announces House run

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A Pennsylvania psychologist whose affair with eight-term congressman Tim Murphy led to his resignation said Wednesday that she is pursuing her own bid for the U.S. House of Representatives.

Shannon Edwards, 33, announced that she is seeking the Republican nomination to face Democratic U.S. Rep. Mike Doyle.

Edwards’ candidacy was first reported by The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

Murphy, an outspoken opponent of abortion, resigned this past October after the Post-Gazette reported that text messages suggested he wanted Edwards to get an abortion when they thought she might be pregnant.

According to the paper, Edwards texted Murphy that he had “zero issue posting your pro-life stance all over the place when you had no issue asking me to abort our unborn child just last week when we thought that was one of the options.”

A text reply from Murphy’s number said staff was responsible for his anti-abortion messages: “I’ve never written them. Staff does them. I read them and winced. I told staff don’t write any more.”

FILE – In this April 1, 2014, file photo, U.S. Rep. Tim Murphy, R-Pa., chairman of the House Energy and Commerce subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, questions General Motors CEO Mary Barra about safety defects and the recall of 2.6 million cars with faulty ignition switches, during a hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington. On Tuesday, Oct. 3, 2017, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported the newspaper obtained text messages suggesting Murphy asked a woman with whom he was having an extramarital affair, Shannon Edwards, to have an abortion when he thought she might be pregnant. Edwards, it turned out, wasn't pregnant. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)

Rep. Tim Murphy, R-Pa., was elected to Congress in 2002. He resigned this past October.

 (Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

Murphy represented a neighboring district to the one Edwards is running in. A March 13 special election to fill the unexpired portion of Murphy’s term pits Democrat Conor Lamb against GOP state Rep. Rick Saccone.

Edwards met Murphy at a convention in 2015, and then offered to work with him on legislation to improve how Medicaid reimburses psychiatric hospitals, and to establish an official at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to oversee how mental health funds are spent.

“We worked very closely on legislation that did a lot for my patients and clients. I can’t rewrite the past, and I don’t know what other course it could have gone,” she told the Post-Gazette.

Murphy, who had been in Congress since 2002, resigned days after the newspaper first disclosed the texts. He apologized and asked for privacy for his family.

Their affair became public during Edwards’ own divorce proceedings.

Edwards, a native of Cranberry, Pa., has worked as a forensic psychologist with family and criminal courts.

The Post-Gazette described Edwards as a former political independent who is now a registered Republican.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Click for more from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

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Brexit warning: Boris Johnson 'now recognises the disaster he has made' with protocol

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BORIS JOHNSON’S attitude towards Northern Ireland in Brexit discussions with the EU has been ripped apart by a leading Unionist politician, who warned his “absolutely disastrous” policies are wreaking havoc on communities.

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Trump cowboy plots political future after Capitol breach

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TULAROSA, N.M. — He rodeoed in a Buffalo Bill-style Wild West show, carried his message on horseback from the Holy Land to Times Square and was invited to the White House to meet the president.

But luck may have run out for this cowboy pastor who rode to national political fame by embracing former President Donald Trump with a series of horseback caravans and came crashing down with a defiant stand Jan. 6 against President Joe Biden’s election.

Today, Couy Griffin is divorced, disparaged by family and confronts a political recall drive, a state corruption investigation and federal charges.

And yet he remains determined. He sees himself as governor one day.

The first-term county commissioner forged a group of rodeo acquaintances in 2019 into a promotional Cowboys for Trump posse to spread his conservative message about gun rights, immigration controls and abortion restrictions.

Trump’s election defeat has left the 47-year-old father in a lonely fight for his political life after preaching to crowds at the U.S. Capitol siege, promising to take his guns to Biden’s inauguration and landing in jail for over a week.

In Washington, prosecutors unveiled photographs of Griffin climbing a toppled fence and another barrier to access the Capitol steps.

Public defense attorneys say a close reading of the law shows the area wasn’t off limits. They say Griffin didn’t partake in violence and was well within his free speech rights as he voiced election grievances and attempted to lead a prayer with a bullhorn.

Griffin is one of thousands of Trump loyalists in public office who are charting an uncertain future ahead of the 2022 election cycle. He’s part of a smaller cadre who flirted with insurrection on Trump’s behalf and may still pay a high price. In all, more than 400 people were charged in the insurrection, which left five dead and dozens of officers injured.

Griffin has been rebuked by some Republicans over his racial invective. He’s also been suspended from Facebook and banished from Native American lands in his district as he contests charges of breaking into the Capitol grounds and disrupting Congress that could carry a one-year sentence. A recall effort is underway, amid a bevy of lawsuits.

Still, loyal constituents are easy to come by in a rural county steeped in the anti-establishment, pro-gun culture that dominates southern New Mexico.

“He means no malice on anybody,” said George Seeds, outside the New Heart Cowboy Church in Alamogordo where Griffin once served as pastor. “His concern is the direction of this country, where it’s going.”

Defiance of federal government and its oversight of public lands are staples of politics in Otero County, which spans an area three times the size of Delaware, from the dunes of White Sands National Park to the peaks of the Lincoln National Forest.

Banned from Washington until testimony or trial, Griffin has returned to the routines of home in a tidy double-wide trailer in Tularosa, working most days as a stone mason. A donkey named Henry brays from a side yard.

In a conversation with The Associated Press, Griffin says he learned to love the spotlight during five years as an expert rodeo hand in a Wild West show at Paris’ Disneyland park.

His rides with Cowboys for Trump through numerous states were a reprise of proselytizing trips he made from Ireland to Jerusalem, before social media, to hand out the Gospel of John.

The group captivated the public imagination with its first outing, a 2019 flag-waving ride down the shore of the Potomac River to Arlington National Cemetery.

Ramie Harper, a 67-year-old former bull rider from Fruitland, took a break from making custom hats to join the caravan.

“They loved it,” Harper said. “We was on ‘Fox & Friends’ the next day.”

With calls for an independent investigation of the Capitol siege blocked by Senate Republicans, Griffin is out on bail and speaking his mind.

He’s an advocate for stricter state voting laws and a die-hard opponent of COVID-19 restrictions who says “hell no” to taking the vaccine.

Griffin still wears a monogrammed Cowboys for Trump shirt to commission meetings. But his allegiance to Trump has wavered.

“I don’t have the same confidence in him,” Griffin said. “Whenever you say, ‘China stole the election. … The election was stolen from me,’ and then you just walk away? That’s hard for me to accept.”

He says his obsession with politics has taken a toll, contributing to his 2019 divorce and tensions with relatives.

“I’ve had my own family say some pretty nasty things,” Griffin said. “It’s been real hard.”

With Trump or without, Griffin still ascribes to unsubstantiated claims of massive 2020 election fraud.

He yearns to someday run for governor even though state GOP leaders are openly scornful and Democrats hold every statewide elected office.

More immediately, Griffin is eyeing an open 2022 sheriff’s race in another New Mexico county where he grew up. His grandfather Wee Griffin held the Catron County post from 1963 to 1966. Trump won there in 2020 with 73% of the vote.

Griffin has cast Democratic Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham as his political nemesis on issues of gun control, abortion and pandemic restrictions. He’d like to reinvent the sheriff’s role as a brake on the governor’s power.

“The county sheriff’s sole duty and responsibility is to protect our individual rights,” he said. “You think that the governor hates me as a county commissioner — put a gun and a badge on me, and we’ll see.”

Jeff Swanson, chairman of the Otero County Democratic Party, says Griffin’s divisive remarks hinder county efforts to secure state infrastructure spending, and he has engaged in intimidation by recording Cowboys for Trump videos from his office with a shotgun within view.

In Alamogordo, Griffin’s rhetoric on race has steeled the determination of opponents who want him out of office.

Griffin delivered a scathing rebuke last year as the NFL announced game-opening renditions of “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” also known as the Black national anthem.

“They want to destroy our country,” Griffin said in a video monologue. “I got a better idea. Why don’t you go back to Africa and form your little football teams. … You can play on an old beat-out dirt lot.”

Everette Brown, a Marine veteran and information technology specialist at Holloman Air Force Base who is Black, said that comment shows politics have changed Griffin, whom he once respected.

“I’m a big boy. I can handle a lot. And that was one that got me,” said Brown, part of a committee seeking to recall Griffin.

For now, Griffin has halted the petition with an appeal to the state Supreme Court, which hasn’t decided whether to intervene. Meanwhile, state prosecutors are investigating allegations Griffin used his office in coordination with Cowboys for Trump for personal financial gain, and signed a child-support check to his ex-wife from his Cowboys for Trump account.

Griffin has acknowledged using the county building for promotional videos but said he never claimed they were affiliated with Otero County. He also says Cowboys for Trump is a for-profit company, not a political group.

Donnie Reynolds, a 51-year-old sales associate at an Alamogordo hardware store, says Griffin is being targeted for ties to Trump.

He says Griffin is right about lots of things, like the need for a border wall.

“They’re going find out he didn’t have anything to do with these types of things,” he said. “They’re going to eat some crow.”

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'Scotland crying out for opposition!' Neil Oliver slams Sturgeon's SNP 'one party state'

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SCOTLAND needs an opposition to challenge the “one-party state” under the SNP, GB News presenter Neil Oliver has warned.

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