Gov. Kate Brown added her voice to those calling on Oregon legislative candidate Democrat Nathan Boddie to withdraw from the state House race after he was accused of sexually harassing a woman at a bar and responded to the allegations by attacking the woman’s character.
“I’m not willing to compromise my values over an election,” the governor told OPB. “Time’s up. It’s time for Dr. Boddie to resign his nomination.”
Boddie faced increasing calls Monday to step aside from his effort to succeed Republican Rep. Knute Buehler in the statehouse after allegations of sexual harassment surfaced. Oregon House Democrats pulled support for Boddie following unspecified but “serious allegations of inappropriate behavior,” that included repeatedly acting in a sexist way and using a homophobic slur in June.
More recently, a woman accused Boddie of groping her at a bar. Deschutes County District Attorney John Hummel said Monday he supported Boddie after the first round of allegations. But Hummel said he’s changed his mind after Moey Newbold shared her story of sexual harassment with OPB.
“I know Moey Newbold and find her to be credible and ethical. She does not seek financial gain as a result of her allegation nor is she in Boddie’s opponent’s camp,” Hummel said in a statement. “Rather, by making this allegation, she subjected herself to embarrassment and unwanted attention. I believe Moey Newbold.”
Boddie claimed Newbold suffered from substance abuse problems. Newbold said the allegations are false, calling Boddie’s response the type of bullying that has prevented women and men from reporting assault and harassment in the past.
Hummel said Boddie’s response was “reprehensible and beneath the dignity of a sitting city councilor and candidate for future office.”
“Boddie is entitled to publicly deny the allegation, though his doing so strains credulity. But to trash the reputation of his accuser by sharing with the public what Boddie claims to be Newbold’s medical condition is disgraceful, particularly in light of the fact that Boddie is a physician,” Hummel wrote.
Bend Mayor Sally Russell said her colleague’s response was “unconscionable.”
“And his response was so disrespectful as well, not anywhere close to how a public leader should respond to allegations of sexual harassment,” Russell said.
Russell is also calling on Boddie to resign his seat on the council.
The House District 54 race is one of the more competitive ones in the state. Democrats were hoping to capture the seat after Buehler stepped aside to run for governor. Democrats have a voter registration edge in the district and need to pick up one seat for a supermajority, which would allow them to raise taxes without Republicans.
Boddie would have to willingly step down in order for Democrats to replace him.
“It would be great if we had a good progressive candidate to step up to the plate in Central Oregon,” Brown said. “Oregonians deserve the chance to have at least more than one candidate to choose from.”
The Republican in the race is Cheri Helt.