Nate Boulton Vows To Stay In Senate, Cites Past Drinking Issues

Nate Boulton released a statement late this afternoon saying that he planned to remain in the Iowa Senate. It’s been an open question whether the Des Moines senator would opt to stay in the Legislature following the accusations of sexually inappropriate behavior that drove him out of the gubernatorial race in late May. This announcement made clear that Boulton has no intentions of leaving his elected office.

“I cannot apologize enough for the heartache caused by the stories of those who came forward in May,” Boulton said in his statement. “To those individuals, my supporters, my constituents, and my friends and family: I am sorry. I commit to making sure such questions are never raised again about my conduct.”

He expanded some upon his initial denials of the behavior from when the story initially came out, saying, “I absolutely do have differing accounts, but my perspective is likely clouded by intoxication. Moreover, my perspective has less relevance than the experiences of those who felt that I crossed lines.”

Boulton explained that excessive drinking in recent years had caused him to not handle social situations well, admitting that binge drinking had been a serious problem for him. He had been arrested and charged for an OWI back in 2011.

“I have made progress with my drinking behavior since last year and, to show this is something that I take quite seriously, for months have not had a single drink,” Boulton continued. “I made this change because I want to be the man I believe myself to be – and the man my supporters believed in. No one has seen me intoxicated, act inappropriately, or even appear to cross boundaries since November, when I made this change in my life.”

Boulton could face a challenging situation in the near future with this decision. Some of his close allies in the Senate, including Liz Mathis, Amanda Ragan and Joe Bolkcom, publicly called for him to resign back in May. More importantly, Senate Minority Leader Janet Petersen promised a full investigation into the allegations were Boulton to stay.

She released a statement an hour after Boulton’s.

“I am disappointed by Senator Boulton’s decision,” Petersen wrote. “When I called on Senator Boulton to resign two months ago, I did it because, like many Iowans, I believe that sexual harassment and misconduct should not be tolerated by anyone, anywhere. Senator Boulton will now need to answer to voters in his district, to a potential independent investigation, and to other Iowans involved in the national conversation on this important issue.”

Others wondered if the Republicans would use Boulton’s situation to hit back at Democrats as the party tries to make sexual harassment issues in state government a campaign issue. But aside from some initial statements after the Register story, Republicans have essentially been silent on the Boulton matter, perhaps not wanting to drag up their own problems.

“I believe each of us is stronger than our weakest moments,” Boulton said. “I now strive to make my example one of hope for anyone struggling through a personal crisis. I am motivated to live out that positive example – for Iowans, for my family, and for myself.”

He finished by saying he will return to the Iowa Senate in January, “humbled but determined.”

Boulton is not up for reelection until 2020. You can see his entire statement below:


by Pat Rynard
Posted 7/16/18

8 Comments on "Nate Boulton Vows To Stay In Senate, Cites Past Drinking Issues"

  • Sorry but once an alcoholic, always an alcoholic and making laws is far too important than one falling off the wagon and causing harm to real people. Some people just are not fit for being a politician same as not every one is fit to carry a firearm.

  • I wish Nate nothing but the best. and will be rooting for him. He would have been the candidate with the best chance to beat Reynolds in the Fall. Have to wonder out loud about the timing of the campaign bombshell that kept him from getting the gubernatorial nomination. Wouldn’t be surprised if it was an inside job – someone within the party pulling the strings on that – if it was GOP I would think they would have had the smarts to leak the info after he secured the nomination.

    • I wish Nate the best and certainly hope this won’t make a difference in the support he gives to legislation and support for legislation he proposes from his fellow legislators in the legislature. Nate would have made a good candidate but he was not the best one. The best candidate won as he is one that Democrats, Republicans and No Parties can vote for. Democrats need to win. We can’t do anything for people if we don’t WIN. It will get much worse for labor and many other issues concerning people if Democrats don’t win. If Republicans win the governorship and the legislature you can be sure it is by by IPERS and other items that help Iowans. Democrats need to win up and down the ticket this year. It will be more difficult to vote straight Democratic this year since the GOP has taken away straight ticket voting. It is too easy for any Democrat that has an issue with some certain candidate to pass by that oval and not fill it in. So Democrats – make certain every Democratic oval is filled in even though you may have an issue with a certain Democratic candidate. Democrats need to win this year!! It is important this year and in the future!!

  • I’m proud of Nate for owning up to his own issues and realizing cooler heads need to prevail. His legislative leadership is needed now more than ever. It seems Janet Peterson is doing her best to burn bridges and sink her own reputation.

  • Harold Hughes, a great Iowa governor from the 1960s, went on to be elected as Senator Hughes. Nate is a heck of a guy and will do great things.for Iowa’s workers and less fortunate. Don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater just because you are a little upset.

  • Finally a democrat with backbone enough to fight back ! He has way to many great ideas for we the people that needs expressing . We have to many mediocre, go along to get along, non-confrontational, democrats in office, and running in all sorts of races . The ultra-conservatives don”t seem to have these afflictions, and are determined to impose their backwards agendas . Looking forward to Mr. Boulton’s return to the Senate and caring on the fight for the average Iowan !

  • I appreciated the comment about Harold Hughes. The gentleman who earlier mentioned that “Sorry but once an alcoholic, always an alcoholic” might be technically accurate, which anyone would know if they attended AA meetings or had alcoholics in their circle of friends or family. However, having that monkey on your back at some point in your life should not deprive you of the chance to change your life and make a contribution to something bigger than yourself. I’m glad Mr. Boulton decided to do this. I hope his Democratic partners can see fit to give him a chance. For now, we still live in a democracy. The voters will make the final decision, as it should be.

  • One thing that concerns me is I personally think Nate should have kept quiet and returned to the legislature normally without any statement. The issue has died down and it is no sense bringing it up again. It just gives the Republicans more ammunition against the Dems. It is putting Janet Petersen in an awkward position. She has been a good minority leader and we are expecting good things from her. I can understand why Nate doesn’t want to resign as if it were me, I wouldn’t want to lose the money that his job as a state senator brings in plus the benefits that go along with it. Even though the salary isn’t big, every bit helps. I would have dealt with the issue if the Republicans bring it up. They need to keep their mouths shut as they have had some of their members in not so favorable light (Ex: the Dix situation).
    As to the reference about Gov Hughes he has been one of Iowa’s best governors. It was a different time then with different issues so it is difficult to compare him with Nate or anyone else. Bob Ray was fortunate to have had Gov Hughes proceed him as progressive Hughes set the stage for Gov Ray.

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