U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) has faced some serious competition from her left in recent months.
While her opponent, democratic socialist Shahid Buttar, had shown promise in his bid to unseat the longtime congresswoman, new allegations of sexual harassment and staff mistreatment threaten to derail his campaign, as reported by The Intercept.
Former staffers of Buttar’s came forward with their accusations for the bombshell report.
Almost immediately after its publication, Buttar began shedding the endorsements he had collected throughout the race. But that’s not Buttar’s only problem.
A Medium post earlier this week outlined the claims of Elizabeth Croydon, who said Buttar engaged in repeated sexual harassment during the two decades they knew each other.
As for the claims of his former staffers, Buttar issued a statement downplaying the severity of the allegations and describing the entire report as evidence that he had replaced certain officials within his campaign.
“The allegations that I’m ultimately being accused of, with respect to the campaign, are not gender-related,” he said, asserting that “staff performance” was the motivating factor for the changes described in the report, according to The Intercept.
“What has been characterized as staff turnover is ultimately staff improvement,” Buttar added.
“Sexual harassment is despicable”
The Intercept reported that at least 10 staffers — including many of the campaign’s higher-ups — have parted ways with Buttar since Pelosi’s victory in the March 1 primary. Based on California election rules, Buttar will still face off against Pelosi in the general election, the outlet notes.
Buttar, for his part, has also addressed Croydon’s claims, asserting that every “survivor must be heard” while expressing a desire to be able to share his side of the story.
“Sexual harassment is despicable,” he said, according to Mission Local. “Those who exploit structural sexism and power imbalances must be exposed. I am committed to putting survivors’ interests before my own.”
While the progressive wing of the Democratic Party might want to see a candidate like Buttar begin to reshape Congress, the coverage his campaign is receiving lately has apparently done little to inspire confidence among voters. It looks we may be in for another two years of Nancy Pelosi.