(BLOOMINGTON) – A Monroe County commissioner has suspended her campaign for Bloomington mayor after a former county contractor accused her of sexual harassment and workplace retaliation when he rejected her advances.
Monroe County Commissioner Amanda Barge suspended her campaign Tuesday. Barge announced in January that she was challenging Mayor John Hamilton in the May 7 Democratic mayoral primary.
In a statement posted on her campaign’s Facebook page, the Democratic county commissioner denied the allegations made by former county contractor Brandon Drake. The page has since been deleted.
“We are all fragile and flawed human beings,” the statement read. “Although I vehemently deny engaging in sexual harassment, I recognize that my actions have caused pain to my family and others.”
Drake says he first met Barge last year after he accepted work as an independent contractor to help with a substance abuse helpline in Monroe County.
Drake said shortly after meeting Barge, she began making sexual advances. Despite saying he wasn’t interested, Drake claims Barge persisted in person and via email and text message to pursue him.
Drake alleges Barge retaliated when he rejected her advances, “using her power to effectively dismantle” the drug abuse helpline he was working on then terminated his job.
Barge said Wednesday that she does not plan to resign from her county commissioner seat.