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Craigslist ad leads to Rep. Chris Lee's resignation after photos surface on Gawker web site

Rep. Chris Lee (R-N.Y.) resigned from the House Wednesday evening effective immediately, an announcement that came just hours after a Web site reported that the married congressman had sent a shirtless image of himself to a woman he met on Craigslist.

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Compiled by Justin Bank
Washington Post Staff
Thursday, February 10, 2011; 8:37 AM

Rep. Chris Lee from New York has resigned from office. Aaron Blake and David Fahrenthold reported:

Lee experienced his fall from grace in a single afternoon, undone at the speed of the digital age. At lunchtime Wednesday, he was an obscure but promising second-term congressman. Then, at 2:33 p.m., the Web site Gawker posted an alleged e-mail exchange between a man who used Lee's name - but identified himself as a divorced lobbyist - and an unidentified woman. Gawker reported that the two had met through the personals section of Craigslist.

After that, the familiar cycles of a Washington sex scandal were compressed into a blur of tweets and news alerts. There was confusion, a hint of denial, then a pledge from Lee to "work it out" with his wife.

By 6 p.m., a clerk was announcing Lee's resignation in the House chamber.

Jonathan Capehart looked into how the Craigslist story surfaced:

One particular woman apparently found "Christopher" attractive (especially after being sent said shirtless muscle pose photo) and chatted him up. Nothing risque. In fact, the alleged e-mails back and forth between the two are rather charming in their own way. But according to the Web site, she told Gawker she ended communication when she discovered who he really was. Not only did she get ticked. She got even -- by handing the missives over to Gawker, which ran them. And then Maureen O'Connor, the Gawker writer who penned the story, posed the $100 million question: "So did the married Republican prowl Craiglist looking for hook ups?"

Chris Cillizza has already started handicapping the race for Lee's succesor:

Republicans will be favored to hold the seat, but Democrats have tried to compete there before, coming close to winning in 2006 and putting some money into an open seat race (when Lee first won) in 2008.

Past Democratic candidates include 2008 nominee Alice Kryzan, Iraq veteran Jonathan Powers and businessman Jack Davis, who won the nod in 2004 and 2006.

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