US House candidate ends run after outcry over behavior at slumber party

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A Democratic congressional candidate from Oklahoma has ended her campaign a month after she apologized for verbally abusing children attending a sleepover at a friend’s house.

The candidate, Abby Broyles, a former investigative TV reporter who ran an unsuccessful campaign for the U.S. Senate in 2020, said she was ending her bid to represent Oklahoma’s fifth congressional district “to focus on myself and my happiness,” according to a Average position released Thursday.

In the essay, Ms Broyles, 32, described how she had ‘hit rock bottom’ after the sleepover incident last month.

She described going to the emergency room on March 2, less than two weeks after the apology.

“I drank heavily in my hotel room, over 1,300 miles away in an effort to hide and took sleeping pills, anguished in pain reading about myself on social media and in tabloid articles,” she wrote.

Ms Broyles also said she had ‘struggled with mental health issues including low self-esteem, severe anxiety and insomnia for about 20 years’.

Ms Broyles, who did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Thursday, said she had no recollection of what happened at the February 11 sleepover where she mixed alcohol and sleeping pills. About eight girls aged 12 and 13 attended the sleepover, where they watched the movie “Titanic”, according to Non-documentary mediaa nonprofit journalism organization in Oklahoma.

When first contacted by NonDoc Media for comment, Ms Broyles appeared to deny she was at the party. After a TikTok video showed otherwise, she gave an interview to KFOR-TVan Oklahoma City station where she once worked.

In the interview, Ms Broyles said she ‘passed out’ after drinking wine and taking a sleeping pill. She said her friend, who was hosting the sleepover, gave her medicine she had never taken before.

After the sleepover episode made national headlines, Ms Broyles said she received death threats and was harassed by online trolls. She also wrote that she had “lost support” from Democratic leaders. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, which Ms. Broyles said “announced it was distancing” after the episode, did not immediately return a phone call seeking comment on Thursday.

“The news cycle was the longest nine days of my life,” she continued. “I didn’t even feel safe staying at home because of the threats I received.”

Alone in a hotel room this month, Ms Broyles was overcome with doubt, she said in the post. “Surrounded by empty wine and liquor bottles, I looked at the dark circles under my eyes in the bathroom mirror, and this time I didn’t just tell myself I wasn’t good enough” , she wrote. “This time I thought I was done.”

“I can’t remember all I drank before sending a few suicidal texts to close friends and sending out a tweet that said, ‘You win. I’m just going to kill myself,” she continued. “I passed out and woke up on a stretcher.”

Ms Broyles was seeking her party’s nomination in June to run against Rep. Stephanie Bice, the Republican incumbent serving her first term. In 2020, Mrs. Broyles ran to knock down Senator James Inhofe, a Republican.

Towards the end of her statement, Ms Broyles said she had recently visited a rehabilitation centre.

She said she was sharing her story “because I should have gotten help sooner, and if you are in pain, know there is help. Unfortunately, I had to hit rock bottom to realize that.

If you are having suicidal thoughts, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255 (TALK) or go to SpeakingOfSuicide.com/resources for a list of additional resources.

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