updated 10/9/2006 8:39:46 PM ET 2006-10-10T00:39:46

A Republican congressman under fire in the congressional page scandal has backed out of a fundraiser for a Pennsylvania congressman who admitted to an extramarital affair.

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Rep. Tom Reynolds, head of the National Republican Congressional Committee, was scheduled to appear at an event Thursday night in Williamsport, Pa., for Rep. Don Sherwood. A spokesman for Reynolds said he canceled because of a scheduling conflict.

But Jake O’Donnell, Sherwood’s spokesman, said pressure from Sherwood’s Democratic opponent was also a factor.

Sherwood’s opponent, Democrat Chris Carney, has issued statements calling on Sherwood to cancel the fundraiser with Reynolds. Democrats have accused Reynolds of doing too little to protect a male teenage page from Rep. Mark Foley, a Republican who resigned Sept. 29 after disclosure of his inappropriate electronic messages to former congressional pages.

'That other issue'
When asked whether the statements from the Carney campaign were a factor in the decision for Reynolds to not appear Thursday, Jake O’Donnell, a spokesman for Sherwood, said, “It is mostly about the travel schedule, but there is that other issue.”

“We would like our campaign to be about the issues that matter to the people of the 10th district,” O’Donnell said.

NRCC spokesman Ed Patru said Reynolds, R-N.Y., has events in his own district that led to him dropping out of the Sherwood fundraiser.

“Mr. O’Donnell is not in a position to know why the event was canceled,” Patru said. “He was clearly out of the loop on this one.”

O’Donnell said the Sherwood fundraiser will still take place Thursday at a private residence, but Reynolds will not be in attendance.

Accused of choking woman
The four-term Sherwood, who represents parts of central and northeast Pennsylvania, was considered to have a safe seat until it came to light last year that police had investigated a report of an altercation in 2004 between Sherwood and Cynthia Ore in his Capitol Hill apartment. Criminal charges were never filed, but Ore later sued, alleging Sherwood had choked her. The suit was settled for an undisclosed sum.

After it became public, Sherwood admitted to the affair and apologized but denied hurting Ore. He also apologized to voters last week in an ad and during a debate.

On Saturday, Reynolds issued an apology of his own in an ad.

“Nobody’s angrier and more disappointed that I didn’t catch his lies,” Reynolds said of the Foley scandal. “I trusted that others had investigated. Looking back, more should have been done, and for that, I am sorry.”

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