An internal Democratic battle over one of the most coveted legislative seats in the state intensified on Wednesday.
Oregon Democrats have long targeted the seat representing Bend and parts of Central Oregon in Salem. They currently have a voter registration edge in the district and with Republican Knute Buehler vacating the seat for his gubernatorial bid, party members had hoped the seat would help them secure a supermajority.
But now, after allegations of misconduct, Democrats are putting pressure on their candidate to drop out. Nathan Boddie, a Bend city councilor and doctor, said he has no plans to leave the race.
“It’s not surprising to anyone that special interest groups sometimes try to smear people running for office. Fabricated accusations from Portland political committees don’t mean much to us here in Bend,” Boddie wrote on his Facebook page on Wednesday. “No, I will not do their bidding and I will not be a servant of any PACs or lobbying groups. I will stay in the race on behalf of Bend citizens, will win in November, and will stay focused on the issues most important to us here in Bend.”
On Saturday, a lawyer representing FuturePac, the Democrats’ political action committee, sent Boddie a letter outlining the accusations against him.
“FuturePac has received a complaint that you routinely engaged in sexist behavior and remarks, used a homophobic slur in the presence of staff and a member of the community, and promoted the illegal consumption of alcohol,” the letter from Harry Wilson reads. “Such conduct is not only unacceptable for a candidate for state representative, it is potentially illegal.”
As a result of the allegations, Boddie has lost support from a coalition of left-leaning groups.
Doug Moore, the executive director of the Oregon League of Conservation Voters, said his group is in the midst of evaluating their support and pulling their endorsement of Boddie.
Moore said in aftermath of the “Me Too” movement people have learned to start from a place of “acceptance and believing and not denying” when serious allegations are levied against people in positions of power.