Amanda La Bell, the Working Families Party candidate whom many Democrats hoped would serve as an alternative to their disgraced nominee for a seat in the state Legislature, is withdrawing from the race.
Reports surfaced earlier this week that La Bell claimed she earned a bachelor’s degree from a university in Georgia. The Bulletin broke the story that La Bell had actually dropped out of the university after one semester. Later, more reports surfaced that La Bell had a troubled financial and legal past.
“As a Party, we believe that when a candidate no longer has the trust of their community, they should withdraw their candidacy,” a statement from the Working Families Party read. “It is this belief that compelled us to enter the race for House District 54, and it is this same belief that compels us to support Amanda in stepping out.”
La Bell entered the race after the Democratic candidate, Nathan Boddie, was accused of groping a woman at a bar. He denied the allegations and responded with a vicious attack on the woman’s character.
Support for his candidacy withered and Democrats urged him to step aside. Boddie has, however, stayed in the race and largely disappeared from the public eye. He will, however, appear on the November ballot.
When La Bell was recruited to enter the race she immediately drew endorsements from high-profile Democrats, including Gov. Kate Brown and U.S. Sen. Jeff Merkley. Both politicians have now rescinded their support. La Bell will also appear on the ballot.
The seat representing Bend in Salem is currently held by Republican Knute Buehler, who is vacating the seat to run for governor. Democrats were hoping they could flip the seat. That would help them gain a three-fifths supermajority in the Capitol, which would allow them to raise taxes without any GOP votes.
Cheri Helt is the Republican candidate in the race.
Listen: OPB political reporter Lauren Dake discusses Amanda La Bell’s withdrawal from a key Oregon House race.