The Democratic candidate challenging Republican Marjorie Taylor Greene, a controversial figure who has promoted the QAnon conspiracy theory, for a Georgia House seat abruptly ended his campaign on Friday, announcing that he is leaving the state.
In a statement, Kevin Van Ausdal attributed his decision to withdraw from the race to “family and personal reasons,” but did not elaborate on what had prompted him to end his campaign.
“I am heartbroken to announce that for family and personal reasons, I cannot continue this race for Congress,” Van Ausdal said. “After lengthy discussions with my team, attorneys, party officials, and others, the answer was clear, stepping aside would be best for voters.
“The next steps in my life are taking me away from Georgia, so I will be disqualified from serving in Congress and will give the Party a chance to put forward a candidate that can carry this fight to the end.”
A message from Kevin Van Ausdal pic.twitter.com/Y5LtVcpK2B
— Kevin Van Ausdal (D) (@KevinVanAusdal) September 11, 2020
Van Ausdal was a long shot to win the race to represent Georgia’s 14th Congressional District, which covers the northwestern corner of the state. The district is currently represented by retiring Rep. Tom GravesJohn (Tom) Thomas GravesMcEnany: Trump ‘hasn’t done deep dive’ on anti-Muslim views of Loomer, Greene Trump dodges question about whether he backs GOP candidate’s belief in QAnon QAnon-supporting congressional candidate embraced 9/11 conspiracy theory MORE (R-Ga.), who has easily won reelection under the current district lines since 2012. President TrumpDonald John TrumpWarren: I feel ‘deep down fury’ that Trump downplayed pandemic NYT reporter removed from Trump rally in Michigan Trump says he didn’t share classified information following Woodward book MORE carried the district in 2016 by more than 50 points.
Greene won the Republican nomination for the seat last month after a GOP runoff, and is almost certain to represent the district in Washington next year. Still, her nomination has sparked controversy because of her support for the baseless QAnon conspiracy theory.
It’s unlikely that the Georgia Democratic Party will be able to replace Van Ausdal on the ballot in November. Georgia state law holds that a vacancy for a party nomination due to a candidate’s withdrawal can’t be filled within 60 days of an election. The Nov. 3 election is 53 days away.