(Reuters) – A Democratic candidate among front-runners in the race for Iowa governor dropped out on Thursday after accusations of sexual misconduct by three women.
State Senator Nate Boulton, 38, was among six Democrats vying for the gubernatorial nomination in a June 5 primary. The winner will face Republican Governor Kim Reynolds and a Libertarian candidate in November.
“Today, I am suspending my campaign for governor. I want to thank all my supporters for their hard work this past year,” Boulton said on Twitter.
Boulton bowed out of the race a day after the Des Moines Register reported that three women had accused him of sexually inappropriate behavior.
The newspaper reported that one woman said Boulton repeatedly grabbed her buttocks at a bar in 2015 and that two others accused Boulton of inappropriate behavior when he was in law school more than a decade ago.
Boulton, a lawyer, had polled second among Democratic candidates in a Des Moines Register/Mediacom Iowa Poll this month with 20 percent support, 11 points behind retired businessman Fred Hubbell
Boulton issued a statement in which he apologized and said, “While I depart this campaign for governor with a heavy heart, I remain resolved to the greater cause (of) creating a future Iowa we can all be proud to call our home.”
The Republican Party of Iowa had no comment about his withdrawing from the race. On Wednesday, party Chairman Jeff Kaufmann called the accusations “deeply disturbing” and called for Boulton to leave the campaign.
Besides the governorship, Republicans control Iowa’s legislature and have a majority in the state’s congressional delegation.
Since last October, dozens of high-profile men have been fired or have resigned from their jobs in politics, media, entertainment and business after facing accusations of sexual misconduct by women and men, including Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein.
Reporting by Ian Simpson in Washington