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Despite controversy, Condit to seek re-election

Condit talks to reporters after personally filing papers for re-election on Friday.  

MODESTO, California (CNN) -- Embattled Rep. Gary Condit filed papers Friday night signaling his intention to seek re-election, despite local and national opposition to his candidacy after he was romantically linked a missing government intern.

The seven-term Democratic Congressman filed the necessary paperwork himself in Stanislaus County Courthouse in Modesto, California.

Condit's political future has been the subject of speculation since summer, when he became embroiled in a scandal involving Chandra Levy, a former intern with the U.S. Bureau of Prisons who has been missing for more than seven months.

"It was a tough decision, but I've represented the valley for a long time and I have a great record in Congress, a great record in serving the public service," he said while emerging from the courthouse. "I'm going to do everything I can to focus on my record."

Key players 
Profile: Gary Condit 

Condit, a 53-year-old married grandfather, admitted to an affair with Levy, 24, in an interview with police, sources said, but he never publicly acknowledged a romantic relationship.

Critics assailed the congressman's failure to quickly and fully disclose the nature of his relationship with Levy. His reluctance to cooperate impeded authorities' search for the young woman, some have charged.

Condit's popularity also plunged following a series of interviews meant to explain his actions after Levy's disappearance. The scandal prompted several local Democratic leaders to insist that Condit not seek re-election.

Asked about the "Levy affair" on Friday, Condit told reporters, "You guys will have to decide if you're going to be fair to me or not."

Unlike many of his previous elections, Condit is expected to face a tough primary battle for the Democratic party's nomination for 18th Congressional District seat.

Levy, meanwhile, was last seen in Washington on April 30, shortly after internship ended. She was planning to return to her home in Condit's California district, her family said.

Last month, the U.S. Attorney's office investigating Levy's disappearance served Condit a subpoena, which sought unspecified documents from the congressman.

A grand jury approved the request from the FBI and the District of Colombia Police, now in the seventh month of their investigation.


• Rep. Gary Condit
• Where's Chandra Levy?

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