Update (9:30a): After being accused by three women of inappropriate sexual conduct, State Senator Nate Boulton (D-Des Moines) has suspended his gubernatorial campaign just days before Iowa’s Primary election on June 5th. His statement is below:
I am so proud of the campaign that my staff, my supporters, and I ran in the past year. I was and still am inspired every day by the people who have chosen to fight alongside me in the Senate and on the campaign trail to share a positive vision forward for this incredible state of Iowa.
Democrats must win in November so we can begin to turn our state around. We join together to support the nominee and elect Democrats up and down the ticket. I will do all I can to support that mission and will never stop fighting for progressive causes.
These last 48 hours have been trying. I again offer an apology to those who I have harmed in any way. It is my hope there is some positive that can come from this moment as we strive to be the better people we can be in the coming days, weeks, months, and years. I know that will be my task moving on from here.
Thank you to everyone who stood with me in this campaign, especially the countless working families of the labor movement who joined me in this race and must now continue to fight for their way of life in this state. While I depart the campaign for governor with a heavy heart, I remain resolved to the greater cause creating a future Iowa we can all be proud to call our home.
There is no word as of yet that he plans to resign from the Iowa Senate.
Original: The Des Moines Register reported Wednesday afternoon that State Senator Nate Boulton (D-Des Moines) who is currently running for the Democratic nomination for Iowa Governor was accused by three women of inappropriate sexual conduct.
Brianne Pfannenstiel reporting for The Des Moines Register wrote:
The woman who has accused Boulton of grabbing her buttocks three years ago is lawyer Sharon Wegner of Des Moines. Her account was corroborated by a friend, Ash Bruxvoort, who said she witnessed the incident. Both are Democrats.
Jessica Millage, now an attorney from the Des Moines area, said Boulton repeatedly rubbed his erection against her without her consent during social gatherings while the two attended Drake University Law School.
The third accuser, who described an incident similar to Millage’s from about the same time frame, declined to be named for fear of professional repercussions. She and Millage are both Republicans.
Boulton did not deny the allegations and released a statement.
“I want to clearly and unmistakably apologize to the women who have come forward. Regardless of the difference in my memory or the context of the situation, it is not my place to disqualify what these women felt at the time or in hindsight. 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,” Boulton said.
Let this be an object lesson for young men? Talk about spin!
Yes, young men can learn from this, but regardless of his memory and the “context.” You have three women who have similar stories which he doesn’t deny. This is a pattern of behavior.
What’s worse, however, is that the campaign attempted to downplay it.
“Nate Boulton’s behavior in the social settings referenced in the article, as described by women who were social peers, in no way equates to the disgraceful actions taken by men across the country and in the Iowa Statehouse who have assaulted, harassed, and threatened women with workplace consequences. These are not assertions that he used positions of power, threatened retaliation or reprisal, or that he was in any position to do so. These are situations outside the employment context and were prior to holding public office. Still, this is a lesson to all young men to be respectful and aware of their actions toward women and how those actions may make women feel regardless of the settings or context, and take responsibility for any actions that have offended others,” the press release said.
Are you kidding me?
Look, I was appalled at what former Iowa Senate Majority Leader Bill Dix (R-Shell Rock) did, but it was consentual and he resigned. Boulton should take responsiblity and do the same. He should drop out of the gubernatorial race and resign his senate seat. The Iowa Democratic Party and Iowa Senate Democrats should bring pressure to bear in ensure that happens.