Dem Candidate Suspends Gubernatorial Campaign After Reports Of Sexual Misconduct

Dem Candidate Suspends Gubernatorial Campaign After Reports Of Sexual Misconduct

Dem Candidate Suspends Gubernatorial Campaign After Reports Of Sexual Misconduct

Iowa Democratic candidate for governor Nate Boulton suspended his campaign Thursday morning, the day after the Des Moines Register published allegations from three women that Boulton touched them sexually without their consent.

Two other women claimed Boulton rubbed himself against their bodies when he was in law school decades ago.

Boulton issued a statement in which he apologized and said, "While I depart this campaign for governor with a heavy heart, I remain resolved to the greater cause (of) creating a future Iowa we can all be proud to call our home".

"It is devastating to me that anything that I said or did crossed that line because I know me, and I didn't do that in any sort of intentional way and if I misread a situation, I apologize for it. While this is an embarrassing conversation for me to have today, I think it is important we have it, and I hope young men can learn about gauging conduct in social settings and continue to learn about and engage in the discussion". "What we have learned in the last 24 hours makes it clear to me that Senator Boulton should also resign his position in the Iowa Senate".

Boulton, one of the top candidates in the Democratic primary, did not deny the allegations in a statement, Politico reported.

It also drew a rebuke from Senate Minority Leader Janet Petersen, D-Des Moines, an early backer of Boulton.

Mertes said it "probably makes sense" for Boulton to resign his Senate seat.

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The Democratic contest could be decided in a party convention if no candidate secures at least 35 percent of the vote next month.

In a television interview, Boulton said it was important to make a quick but hard decision about his campaign, given the short time until the June 5 primary.

Troy Price, chairman of the Iowa Democratic Party, said in a statement: "Sexual harassment is unacceptable". Standing up for those who have been marginalized, forgotten, or ignored is a core value of the Democratic Party, as such, we as a community have a special obligation to strongly condemn every incident of sexual harassment, particularly when it occurs within our own party. A spokeswoman for AFSCME Council 61 had no immediate comment on the allegations against Boulton.

Sexual misconduct has gained national prominence in the past year after the #MeToo movement highlighted alleged inappropriate behavior from powerful men in media, politics and other industries. "Those aren't my words, those are the words of Nate Boulton from the Iowa Senate floor", said Bertrand, who noted that Boulton criticized former Senate Majority Leader Bill Dix and Senate Republicans for sexual misconduct on multiple occasions during floor speeches in the past legislative session. The state later reached a $1.75 million settlement.

In a statement issued to his supporters Thursday morning, he thanked his campaign staff and supporters for helping him in his quest to win the nod to face Gov. Kim Reynolds in the November 6 election. Reynolds has been criticized in recent months for how she handled the March firing of a longtime political ally, Dave Jamison, who was accused of harassing female subordinates for years while he served as the head of a state housing agency.

Data from the secretary of state's office shows more than 13,000 Democrats had voted by absentee ballot as of Wednesday, when the allegations were first reported. After those details were made public, she announced an independent investigation into the agency.

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