Political sex scandals: Who survived, who didn't, and why

Accusations of sexual harassment ended the political career of Bob Filner, who resigned as mayor of San Diego Aug. 23. But sex scandals are not necessarily fatal to political ambition. Against all odds, some politicians survive them. How do they do it? Here’s a list of notable politicos whose careers continued in spite of their slips – and some who didn’t.

4. Jack Ryan: goner

  • close
    Republican Jack Ryan of Illinois, a candidate for US Senate in 2004, met reporters outside the Thompson Center in Chicago after portions of documents related to his divorce with actress Jeri Lynn Ryan were released.
    Nam Y. Huh/AP/File
    View Caption
  • About video ads
    View Caption

Remember Jack Ryan the Senate candidate, as opposed to Jack Ryan, the fictional creation of author Tom Clancy? No, we didn’t think you would.

Mr. Ryan, a Republican, dropped out of the 2004 race for a Senate seat in Illinois after a court order unsealed the records of his 1999 divorce from actress Jeri Ryan, most famous for her role as a freed drone in the series “Star Trek: Voyager.” The records revealed that his soon-to-be-ex wife had accused Ryan of asking her to perform sexual acts in public at “bizarre” clubs throughout the US. Some of these clubs featured whips, chains, and other amusement accessories, Mrs. Ryan alleged.

Ryan, in a tough race to begin with, decided to just go away. He dropped out almost immediately, characterizing release of the old records as a “new low in American politics.”

His Democratic opponent, Barack Obama, won the Senate seat easily over replacement GOP candidate Alan Keyes.

4 of 9