Saturday update: A new AJC report says a divorce and impending move to Indiana are behind the personal reason’s Van Ausdal withdrew from the race on Friday. Van Ausdal had hoped to continue his campaign from out of state, but the Constitution stipulates they must live in the same state where they are running, although they do not have to reside in the district they are running. What’s next? “The timing of the resignation puts Democrats in a bind. Because it’s within 60 days of the election, state law appears to restrict Democrats from appointing a successor. The Secretary of State’s office said he can withdraw his candidacy — but that ‘he cannot be replaced’ on the ballot.”
Political stunner: Kevin Van Ausdal, the Democratic long shot for the U.S. House District 14 seat, abruptly withdrew from the race on Friday. The news comes after Van Ausdal had showcased campaign polling numbers that he said showed Republican Marjorie Taylor Greene’s numbers were trailing past GOP candidates in the district. We’ve asked Greene’s campaign for a comment; she’s scheduled to speak this evening at the Floyd County GOP headquarters opening on Broad Street in Rome (6-8 p.m.)
The press release follows:
“I am resigning from my race against Marjorie Taylor Greene. I am deeply saddened by the personal and family reasons that prevent me from continuing on as a candidate for Georgia’s 14th Congressional District. Although all the details will remain my family’s alone, please understand this was not an easy decision. We are real people managing hard choices,” stated Democratic nominee Kevin Van Ausdal in a statement released today.
“While I am stepping down from being the face of this fight for the people of Northwest Georgia, we have to carry on,” Van Ausdal said, “We cannot allow the extremism and divisiveness of Marjorie Taylor Greene to be unchallenged in November. I urge the Democratic Party of Georgia to name a new Democratic nominee, and I will do all I can to ensure the energy and support I have received in my campaign will be behind whomever the Party selects as our standard-bearer in this fight for the soul of our nation.”
Kevin conveys heartfelt thanks for the outpouring of support he has received in this race. “This election is important, but it has never been about me. This race is about the people of Northwest Georgia.”
Van Ausdal is leaving Georgia and will be officially changing his residency. Once he has completed this process and updated his voter registration, he will be notifying the Georgia Secretary of State of his updated status.
Georgia law requires that a new candidate be named to fill the position for Democratic Nominee for Congress once Van Ausdal has officially been removed from the ballot. A similar process occurred earlier this year with the sudden passing of civil rights legend John Lewis, who was serving as the Member of Congress in Georgia’s 5th District.
Statement from Van Ausdal’s campaign manager Vinny Olsziewski: “I want to be clear about this: the campaign is still here and working to do all that needs to happen moving forward. Our finances are intact, and Kevin is safe. We remain dedicated to supporting Democrats in finding a replacement for November, as Kevin addressed in his statement earlier today. We are in communication with the Democratic Party of Georgia, which is currently reaching out and working with the Georgia Secretary of State’s office to name a new nominee and move forward.”
This evening, Greene tweeted: “Best wishes to @KevinVanAusdal, who stepped down from the #Ga14 race today. Now let’s all work together to…help GA Republicans win!”
So what’s next?
- Among the first moves, Democrats must find out if they indeed can name a candidate to fill the spot on the ballot.
- Second, keep in mind absentee ballots are due on Sept. 15 with mailing beginning soon after. Who’s name will appear in the Democratic slot, if any?
- Third, mounting a campaign against a candidate who has sunk hundreds of thousands of dollars into the House bid, collected more than 40 percent of the vote in an eight-person GOP primary and then cruised to a runoff primary win.
- Fourth, coping with an amassing army of national media in addition to state and local.