UPDATED Feb. 22, 7:55 p.m.
Democratic state Sen. Tony Mendoza is already looking to regain his seat after resigning amid sexual allegations on Thursday.
A Senate investigation found that Mendoza “more likely than not” behaved inappropriately toward six different women, many of them former staffers.
Mendoza told Capital Public Radio he felt the investigation was politically orchestrated by state Senate Pro Tem Kevin de León, who introduced a resolution to expel Mendoza earlier this week.
Senate Rules met about the resolution and was set to bring a disciplinary action to a full Senate vote today.
“He was focused on expulsion,” Mendoza said. “He wanted to make sure he smeared my name, and that I would not have any opportunity, or have a really hard time for my re-election this year.”
On the Senate floor moments after receiving Mendoza’s resignation letter, de León said the Senate did a thorough and necessary investigation according to its zero tolerance harassment policy. He added that Mendoza was given “ample opportunity to provide rebuttals to the allegations.”
“We have completed an exhaustive, objective and independent investigation done by professional experts,” he said. “The bottom line is, we’re going to protect our staff.”
Mendoza wrote in his resignation letter that de León “will not rest until he has my head on a platter.”
The former lawmaker is suing the Senate over the investigation, and plans to run for re-election in the primary this June.
De León and Mendoza are former housemates.
Republican Sen. John Moorlach, who represents parts of Orange County, said he and many of his colleagues thought Mendoza should be suspended until the end of session, without pay, and then be allowed to run again for office in June.
“He can make his case publicly,” Moorlach said. “We’re not individuals that are selected because someone hired us. We’re here because someone voted for us. So, the voters should’ve had their say.”
On Thursday afternoon, Mendoza’s photograph was removed from the roster of senators in the hallway outside the Senate floor.
This story has been updated with new reporting
Resignation Letter from Sen. Tony Mendoza