Iowa Democratic Gubernatorial Candidate Forced Out of Race by Groping Allegations

One day a viable gubernatorial candidate, Nate Boulton closed his campaign down after multiple sexual-misconduct allegations. Photo: Charlie Neibergall/AP/REX/Shutterstock

The Reckoning over sexual misconduct has taken down another prominent politician. Iowa state senator Nate Boulton, a Democrat who was running a reasonably viable gubernatorial campaign, shut it all down in the wake of multiple allegations of sexual misconduct published by the Des Moines Register earlier this week.

Unlike some bad actors identified in a #MeToo moment, Boulton was alleged to have committed misdeeds very recently, and at 38, he’s too young to benefit from some sort of informal statute of limitations:

One woman told the Des Moines Register that Boulton, now 38, repeatedly grabbed her buttocks at a bar in 2015. Two others told the Register that when Boulton was in law school more than a decade ago, he rubbed his clothed crotch against them, pressing his erect penis into their thighs.

Boulton did not exactly deny the accusations, but hinted at “context” that might have explained his behavior, though he chose not to engage in what he himself called “victim-blaming.”

At least with respect to the most recent misconduct, the accusers named themselves:

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.

One of the two woman who came forward with the details about his bad behavior in law school also let the Register identify her.

As always, it’s unclear why someone with these sorts of multiple incidents in his background would think it was a good idea to run for office, particularly as a Democrat. But for the time being, Boulton’s plans for higher office have imploded.

Boulton was running second in a six-candidate field behind veteran Democratic funder Fred Hubbell in a recent Register poll looking forward to the June 5 primary. His demise could benefit the third-place finisher in the poll, union leader Cathy Glasson, though it will most likely help Hubbell get over the 35 percent threshold necessary in Iowa to win a nomination without going through a party convention. The winner will take on incumbent Republican governor Kim Reynolds in a key test of whether this Republican-trending state (Donald Trump won Iowa by a shocking 9 percent in 2016) could move back to its recent status as a tightly contested battleground state.

Iowa Candidate for Governor Felled by Groping Allegations