Democrats seeking an alternative to their embattled nominee in House District 54 have come up with a work-around: They are lining up behind Amanda La Bell, who filed on Aug. 24 to run for the seat being vacated by state Rep. Knute Buehler (R-Bend).

Democrats had high hopes for picking up the seat Buehler is surrendering to run for governor, because they enjoy a 10-percentage-point registration advantage in his district.

Although Boddie denied any wrongdoing, the Democrats campaign committee and several leading Democratic interest groups urged him to exit the race. He has refused. And so on Friday, La Bell, who runs a Bend nonprofit, jumped into the Nov. 6 general election contest as the Working Families Party candidate.

Amanda La Bell
Amanda La Bell

La Bell, a first-time candidate, boasts the endorsements of U.S. Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Gov. Kate Brown and former Gov. Barbara Roberts, along with several Bend officials.

Democrats are keen to win Buehler's seat because they currently hold a 35 to 25 advantage over Republicans in the House. If they can win a 36th seat, they will have the so-called "super-majority" that the Oregon Constitution requires to raise new taxes without a vote of the people.

La Bell will now run against the Republican nominee, Cheri Helt—and, unless he drops out, Boddie.

"Like many in our community, I was shocked to learn of Nathan Boddie's inappropriate behavior and language toward women, young people, and members of our LGBTQ+ community. Moreover, his response is not what we expect from our elected leaders," La Bell said in a statement. "That's why I've stepped up to run. Bend voters deserve a real choice for State Representative."