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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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BBC's Laura Kuenssberg warns Nicola Sturgeon the Alex Salmond inquiry 'looks so damaging'

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THE BBC’s Laura Kuenssberg has warned Nicola Sturgeon that the “huge amounts of bad blood” within the SNP that is being exposed by the Alex Salmond inquiry could damage the party.

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Biden administration withdraws from transgender athlete case

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The Biden administration has withdrawn government support for a federal lawsuit in Connecticut that seeks to ban transgender athletes from participating in girls’ high school sports.

Connecticut allows high school athletes to compete in sports according to their gender identity. The lawsuit was filed a year ago by several cisgender runners who argue they have been deprived of wins, state titles and athletic opportunities by being forced to compete against two transgender sprinters.

Bloomfield High School transgender athlete Terry Miller, second from left, wins the final of the 55-meter dash over transgender athlete Andraya Yearwood, far left, and other runners in the Connecticut girls Class S indoor track meet at Hillhouse High School in New Haven on Feb. 7, 2019.Pat Eaton-Robb / AP file

The Justice Department and the Education Department’s Office for Civil Rights withdrew their support for the case ahead of a hearing scheduled for Friday on a motion to dismiss the lawsuit.

The Trump administration’s intervention in the case last year came as state legislatures around the country debated restricting transgender athletes’ participation to their gender assigned at birth. Seventeen states considered such legislation, and Idaho passed a law. The Republican-controlled Mississippi legislature overwhelmingly approved a similar bill earlier this month.

Supporters of restrictions on transgender athletes argue that transgender girls, because they were born male, are naturally stronger, faster and bigger than those born female.

Last March, then-Attorney General William Barr signed what is known as a statement of interest in the Connecticut lawsuit, arguing the state’s policy runs afoul of Title IX, the federal law that allows girls equal educational opportunities, including in athletics.

In a filing Tuesday, Connecticut U.S. Attorney John Durham and other department officials withdrew Barr’s statement, saying, “The government has reconsidered the matter.”

Attorneys for the plaintiffs declined to comment.

Canton High School senior Chelsea Mitchell during a press conference with Danbury High School sophomore Alanna Smith, left, and Selina Soule, Glastonbury High School senior at the Connecticut State Capitol Wednesday, Feb. 12, 2020, in downtown Hartford.Kassi Jackson / Hartford Courant/TNS via Getty Images file

The Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference has said it is following a state law that requires all high school students be treated according to their gender identity.

The Education Department’s Office for Civil Rights last spring and summer sent letters threatening to cut off some federal funding to Connecticut school districts that followed the policy.

On Tuesday, the office notified those involved that it was withdrawing those letters “as well as the underlying findings and determinations,” and does not wish to become a party in the lawsuit.

On his first day in office, President Joe Biden signed an executive order prohibiting discrimination based on gender identity in school sports and elsewhere. Former president Donald Trump had rolled back protections for transgender people while in office.

Dan Barrett, a lawyer for the American Civil Liberties Union of Connecticut, which represents the two transgender athletes in the lawsuit, said Tuesday’s action represents “a hint that the government, the Department of Education, may now have a different view of Title IX.”

CIAC executive director Glenn Lungarini has said the organization’s transgender policy was formed with federal and state guidance and that multiple courts and federal agencies, including the Justice Department, had previously acknowledged that the term “sex” in Title IX is ambiguous.

Connecticut Attorney General William Tong said Tuesday he was pleased with the Justice Department’s decision to withdraw Barr’s statement.

“Transgender girls are girls and every woman and girl deserves protection against discrimination. Period,” he said in a statement.

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Nicola Sturgeon seething as she's confronted over Salmond inquiry chaos on live TV

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NICOLA STURGEON snapped back during her coronavirus briefing following a grilling on the Alex Salmond inquiry.

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