Embattled Rep. Farenthold to leave office - Wharton voters react

On the banks of the Colorado River, in staunchly Republican Wharton County, news of Congressman Blake Farenthold's decision floated in before the folks at Heinz's Barbecue served up their first plate of brisket.

While the flavor at the restaurant was just fine, the recent revelation that taxpayers funded Farenthold's $84,000 sexual harassment settlement has left a foul taste in quite a few mouths.

Rita James says it's high time for the Congressman to both "fess up" and call it quits.

"You should never step back and say that never happened to me. Yes, it did. Talk about it. Get rid of it," said James.

As if on cue, Farenthold seemed to follow that advice.

"Off-hand comments, off color jokes and in general, behavior that was less than professional," said Farenthold in a video message posted on his Facebook page.

In announcing he would not seek re-election, the 56-year-old husband and father again denied he had sexually harassed his former communication director, but accepted full responsibility for behavior in the nation's capital that was both embarrassing and disrespectful.

"I had never served in public office before. I had no idea how to run a Congressional office and as a result I allowed a workplace culture to take root in my office that was too permissive and decidedly unprofessional," said Farenthold.

Back at Heinz's, Whartonians were far more receptive to another BBQ sandwich than another term for Farenthold.

As for the larger "reckoning", that's called harassers across the country to account, Paulette Rhodes would like it to continue.

"What's fair and what's just and what's right needs to be done, regardless of how much resistance there is. Just because it was okay a few years ago, it's not okay now," said Rhodes.

For her part, Rita James feels much the same.

"Things have changed. People don't accept things as they did before and I think it's good for the country."

In what has been described as a "final screw up", Farenthold failed to notify the Texas Secretary of State before Monday's deadline that he was not seeking re-election.

As a result, his name must appear on the March Republican primary ballot for voter consideration.