Nathan Boddie faces more calls to withdraw from Oregon House race

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Nathan Boddie
Nathan Boddie (center,) and Sally Russell (left) at a Bend, Oregon City Council meeting (Image: YouTube)

Several weeks after unspecified allegations were made against him, Bend Oregon City Councilor and Democratic Oregon House candidate Dr Nathan Boddie now faces new, detailed allegations of sexual misconduct. Calls for Boddie to resign from the Council and withdraw from the House race are increasing, but so far he shows no sign of doing either.

Initial unspecified allegations against Nathan Boddie

Nathan Boddie is currently running for House District 54 against Republican Cheri Helt in a race that became open when GOP incumbent Knute Buehler decided to run for governor.

In late June the Oregon House Democratic political action committee known as FuturePAC suddenly withdrew its support from Boddie’s campaign. FuturePAC cited allegations of misconduct against Boddie which it found credible, but in order to protect the person who made the allegations, the PAC did not provide any details about the allegations.

Oregon House Majority Leader Jennifer Williamson said in a FuturePAC statemnet, “The Oregon House Democratic caucus is diverse and inclusive. Behavior of the kind detailed in these allegations runs counter to our values. Despite our excitement about the electoral opportunity in Bend, we’ve made the decision to discontinue our support of Dr. Boddie’s campaign. While this is politically disappointing, it’s the right thing to do.”

At the same time, Portland-based alternative weekly, Willamette Week, reported anonymous sources who said “the issue was sexist behavior and Boddie’s use of a homophobic slur.”

Boddie flatly denied any wrongdoing. In a statement on Facebook he blamed the allegations on special interest groups (even though he had accepted help from the special interest group in question before it was withdrawn).

“It’s not surprising to anyone that special interest groups sometimes try to smear people running for office,” he wrote. “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.”

New specific allegations against Nathan Boddie

Prompted by the FuturePAC condemnation and Boddie’s denials of wrongdoing, an environmental non-profit worker came forward to Oregon Public Broadcasting (OPB) with allegations of her own, first broadcast on Friday July 6th.

The woman said that she was chatting to Boddie in a bar in December 2012 when “he slipped his hand down my pants, under my underwear, and I froze. He was touching my butt cheek.”

“I felt super violated and disgusted,” she continued. “And I texted him and said, ‘Don’t ever do anything like that again’ … and he responded, ‘Well, you do have a nice ass.'”

The woman, then 23, told friends about the incident at the time. Several corroborated her account to OPB.

Boddie again denied wrongdoing, telling OPB, “It’s unfortunate this is what’s going on. But we have to keep our eye on the ball, and we keep the campaign doing what campaigns do.”

More calls to call it quits

Fellow Bend City Concilor Sally Russell (pictured above), who is currently running for Mayor of Bend, yesterday called on Boddie to both step down from the Council and withdraw from the District 54 race.

In a statement on Facebook, Russell said, “The allegations against Dr. Boddie, and his failure to address these issues, are highly disturbing. Sexual harassment must never be tolerated or accepted anywhere…With something this serious, it will be difficult for Dr. Boddie to effectively work with community leaders and his fellow councilors to serve our city. It’s time for Councilor Boddie to resign.”

So far it appears Nathan Boddie is going to try and ride out the controversy until the election in November. He is just one of many state legislators across the country who will appear on the ballot with unresolved #MeToo allegations hanging over them, including David Byrd in Tennessee and Doug Shooter in Arizona.

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