BEND, OR -- Deschutes Democrats are actively seeking a replacement candidate for Bend's House District 54. The party can’t force Bend City Councilor Nathan Boddie to step aside, but members recently passed resolutions formalizing a request for his resignation and allowing for the search.
Former District 54 State Rep. Judy Stiegler says one resolution makes official what some party members have already asked, "It’s a two-part kind of thing; the first resolution was a clear statement of the Deschutes Democrats’ withdrawal of support for Dr. Boddie and then a formal request for him to exit the race." The second allows party leadership to start an official search, "Looking for a potential candidate to run, in the event that Dr. Boddie does bow out." Click HERE to read both resolutions in their entirity.
Earlier this month, a local environmental activist made public her allegations that Boddie groped her during a conversation at a bar in 2012. He initially responded by accusing the woman of having a substance abuse problem. Stiegler attended Sunday's party meeting and voted in favor of both resolutions because, she says, Boddie's response was not in line with the party's values, "It isn’t our job to rant and rave and make any allegations or accusations. I think the bulk of the precinct committee people who were there voting on this, they viewed it as a way to express our displeasure with how this whole thing has played out. And to say, ‘Please. It’s time. We need to move forward'." She adds, :From my perspective, we want to make it clear that the way this has been handled by Dr. Boddie is not appropriate. And, secondly, even though he’s been asked by several members of the party and other people around the area to bow out of the race, it’s sort of the official ask by the Deschutes Democratic party."
Boddie has remained out of the public eye for several weeks and did not appear at last week's Council meeting. Party Chair Jason Burge confirms Boddie has also not been in communication with Deschutes Democrats, and hasn't responded to the resolutions. Stiegler tells KBND News it’s not unusual for a candidate to be embroiled in controversy during a campaign, "What is unusual for things to just go silent. People handle the situations in different ways. I, for one, wish Dr. Boddie had handled this in a different way."
If he doesn't resign from the campaign before August 28, Boddie's name will appear on the November ballot. Stiegler says that tight timeframe is why it's important the party start looking now for a replacement, "We realize that in this stage of the game, there’s an uphill battle. I’d be very naïve, as someone who’s been in the trenches before and understands, we’re hitting the premier time for campaigning." She says, "I think also, we're very cognizant that we have a lot of other good candidates running for other offices and we don't want all our focus and all our energy to be on this."