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Calls for Democratic candidate for state House to quit

July 10, 2018

A Nov. 4, 2014 photo shows Nathan Boddie in Bend, Ore. In a statement late Monday, July 9, 2018, the party's House campaign arm said it would no longer support Bend Democratic candidate Nathan Boddie after an internal investigation had substantiated allegations of misbehavior (Andy Tullis/The Bulletin via AP)

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — An attempt by Democrats to flip a seat in the Oregon Legislature has been thrown into disarray, with the party’s nominee accused of groping a woman in a bar and him firing back by impugning his accuser’s character.

Calls grew louder Monday for Nathan Boddie, a doctor and member of the Bend City Council, to quit the race for a House seat being vacated by a Republican who is the GOP’s gubernatorial candidate in the November election.

Bend council member and mayor pro tem Sally Russell said Boddie should not only abandon the statehouse race, but resign from the council.

“The allegations against Dr. Boddie, and his failure to address these issues, are highly disturbing,” Russell said.

The campaign arm of Oregon House Democrats earlier withdrew its support of Boddie, saying it received a complaint that he engaged in sexist behavior and used anti-gay language.

Boddie, who did not respond Monday to a request for comment, cannot be forced out of running for the House seat, and instead could only go if he withdraws voluntarily, said Molly Woon, spokeswoman for the Democratic Party of Oregon.

If Boddie does quit the race, a Democratic convention in Deschutes County, which forms the House district he’s running for, would select a candidate to run as the Democratic nominee on the November ballot, Woon said.

Vague accusations against Boddie became specific when Moey Newbold, a local community activist, said Boddie had slid his hand into her pants while they were at a bar in December 2012, when she was 23, Oregon Public Broadcasting reported on Friday. She told friends and colleagues about the disturbing incident at the time.

Boddie has denied Newbold’s allegation. On Saturday, he said in a statement that Newbold had “suffered from problems related to substance use,” had been intoxicated in public and that he had found her unconscious at times, according to The Source, a weekly newspaper in Bend.

Newbold told The Source that Boddie’s statement about her is false and amounts to “character assassination.”

Deschutes County District Attorney John Hummel said he previously backed Boddie’s campaign to win a seat in the Oregon House, but due to Boddie’s public statements about Newbold and uncertainty about his past conduct, Hummel was withdrawing his support.

“I know Moey Newbold and find her to be credible and ethical,” Hummel said. “Boddie’s public response to Newbold’s allegation was reprehensible and beneath the dignity of a sitting city councilor and candidate for future office.”

Democrats need just one more seat in the House and one in the Senate to reach a three-fifths supermajority in both chambers. That would give them the ability to increase state revenue without Republican support, and a better shot at increasing corporate taxes in a state where corporations pay one of the lowest rates in the nation.

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Follow Andrew Selsky on Twitter at https://twitter.com/andrewselsky

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