A decade-old allegation of sexual assault has rocked a crowded Democratic primary for a Tucson-based congressional district.
Yahya Yuksel is facing calls to quit his campaign after a newspaper reported about allegations that he raped an intoxicated 16-year-old girl when he was 17. The newspaper said Yuksel, who is now 28, was never charged or arrested, and the individual did not press charges.
The Pima County Democratic Party took the rare move of withdrawing support from Yuksel. According to Pima County Democratic Party Chair Jo Holt, party leadership voted to withdraw it's support for the candidate during an emergency meeting this week. "At this point, the Pima County Democratic Party is done," Holt said. She also said the party executive board withdrew support of the candidate and encouraged voters to back any of the other six candidates in the race. Democrats were upset about the allegations and Yuksel's handling of them. "That's what a congress person has to be abe to do, you have to be able to convince your voters that you're being honest with them, open with them and treating them with respect," she said.
Yuksel said he did not rape the individual, but he deeply regrets drinking and having sex that night. He says he's not dropping out the race, despite opponents calling on him to do so. "I think it was my opponents that looked into me and they couldn't kill my dream and they tried to assassinate my character and they organized this," Yuksel said.
Now, he says he doesn't need democratic support. "i will win the general for sure, because there's a lot of republicans and independents out there that see this as a breach," he said.
The primary election is August 28th.