Iowa Democratic gubernatorial candidate Nate Boulton has announced the suspension of his campaign on Thursday morning in an official statement after allegations of sexual misconduct surfaced on Wednesday. Two other women said he rubbed his clothed crotch against them more than a decade ago. "It is my hope there is some positive that can come from this moment as we strive to be a better people we can be in the coming days, weeks, months and years".
The allegations were revealed in a Des Moines Register article in which Boulton was interviewed. "I know that will be my task moving on from here", Boulton said. He was among the top contenders in the race, according to a Des Moines Register/Mediacom Iowa Poll released earlier this month.
The alleged actions toward "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", the campaign said.
Boulton, first elected to the Iowa Senate in 2016, had been considered a rising star in the Democratic party.
Boulton, the campaign asserted, did not act from a position of power and did not threaten retaliation.
Boulton's departure comes less than two weeks before the June 5 Democratic primary for governor.
"I am so proud of the campaign that my staff, my supporters, and I ran in the past year", said Boulton. "Nate Boulton's behavior disqualifies him from leading our state government".
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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.
Iowa Republicans also called for Boulton to quit the race and resign as a senator. "That means making sure we have the wage growth we need, that we have the quality of life for workers in this state, so that they want to stay here, so that our youngest-our best and brightest-stay in our communities across Iowa, and that we can recruit the next generation of skilled workers that we need".
Several Democrats in high positions have responded to the allegations.
Norris noted that he had been confirmed by the U.S. Senate twice after full FBI background investigations.
A campaign manager for Fred Hubbell, a businessman and the perceived front-runner, said in a statement: "Fred has been very clear that sexual harassment and misconduct has no place in our society and will not be tolerated".