Representative Mark Souder (R-Ind.) announced his resignation on Tuesday after admitting having an extramarital affair with a part-time female staffer.
The eight-term congressman—a conservative Christian who often preached family values—recently survived a contentious primary election where he garnered less than 50 percent of the vote.
Souder was mysteriously absent from Washington for the last two weeks while rumors of his alleged affair began to surface. The congressman had claimed to be home attending to his ill wife while missing several key votes in House, Fox News reports.
"I wish I could have been a better example," said Souder. "In this poisonous environment of Washington, D.C., any personal failing is seized upon, often twisted, for political gain. I am resigning rather than to put my family through that painful, drawn-out process."
With Souder’s resignation, the GOP may be at a greater risk of losing the seat to a Democratic challenger. A spokeswoman for Indiana Republican Governor Mitch Daniels said that a special election will be held in the next 30 days to select a Republican candidate, according to The Associated Press (AP).
The winner of the election will move on to face Fort Wayne, Ind., city council member Tom Hayhurst, who nearly beat out Souder in the 2006.