Chris Janicek — who is challenging Republican Sen. Ben Sasse — made the comments in a group chat with five others, including the female staffer, The Associated Press said after obtaining the texts.
At one point, he wrote that he had argued with her — then asked whether the campaign should spend money on “getting her laid.”
“It will probably take three guys,” he wrote, before describing in graphic detail an imagined group sex scene involving the unidentified staffer.
Janicek tried to walk back the comments as “a joke,” apologizing in the chat.
“I’m going on no sleep and a bunch of exuberant excitement and I think I was out of line,” he wrote.
However, the female staffer texted back that she was appalled by his comments and could no longer support his campaign.
“You are my boss and a candidate running for Senate, (an) office held by just 100 Americans representing approximately 330 million of her people,” she wrote. “There is zero tolerance for what you said.”
She quit, and filed a formal complaint with the party alleging that Janicek violated its code of conduct that prohibits sexual harassment.
Nebraska Democratic Party officials on Tuesday issued a statement saying they have “demanded” he withdraw from the senate race.
“Our Democratic Party has no tolerance for sexual harassment,” state Democratic Party Chairwoman Jane Kleeb said in a statement.
“Our party will not extend resources or any type of support to any candidate that violates our code of conduct and doesn’t treat men and women with the dignity and respect they deserve.”
Janicek has insisted he has no plans to drop out of the race, saying he had apologized and assumed the comments would remain private.
“They’re using this as a crutch,” he said, claiming he was being targeted because he disagreed with its more liberal activists on issues such as abortion rights and gun control.
Vince Powers, a former state party chairman who is the female staffer’s attorney, said Janicek also apologized to his client in person, but that she did not accept it and still wants him out of the race.
“People go to work for Democratic candidates in an underdog race because they’re idealists,” Powers said. “So when you get a text like this, it’s just devastating.”
One of Janicek’s primary opponents, Alisha Shelton, announced Tuesday that she would relaunch her campaign as a write-in candidate in the general election.
“I am deeply disturbed that this brave individual experienced sexual harassment in that manner,” Shelton, of Omaha, said of the campaign staffer.
Party officials can only replace Janicek on the November general election ballot if he files a request with the Nebraska secretary of state’s office to have his name removed.
The deadline for Janicek to withdraw and the party to name a replacement is Sept. 1, according to the Nebraska secretary of state’s office. A state election official said Janicek’s former primary opponents aren’t legally allowed to run as write-in candidates until he’s off the ballot.
The ballots must be certified by Sept. 11.
With Post wires