Kevin Van Ausdal, the Democrat candidate in the race for Georgia’s 14th congressional district, announced on Friday he was dropping out of the race and moving out of the state.
Van Ausdal was running opposite the GOP candidate Marjorie Taylor Greene, the staunchly pro-Trump candidate who has expressed support for the baseless, far-right QAnon conspiracy theory.
Greene, who won a runoff primary race last month, had already been expected to win the seat in a heavily Republican district.
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Kevin Van Ausdal, the Democratic candidate running against controversial GOP candidate Marjorie Taylor Greene in Georgia’s 14th congressional district, suddenly dropped out of the House race on Friday.
“I am heartbroken to announce that for family and personal reasons, I cannot continue this race for Congress,” he said in a statement posted to Twitter. “After lengthy discussions with my team, attorneys, party officials, and others, the answer was clear, stepping aside would be best for the voters.
Van Ausdal said he would be moving from Georgia, which would render him ineligible to run for the seat. He said he was resigning from the race so that the Democratic Party had “a chance to put forward a candidate that can carry this fight to the end.”
“I will put every resource, every bit of knowledge into the campaign that comes behind me to defeat Marjorie and restore hope to the people of Northwest Georgia,” he said.
According to a Politico report, the Georgia Democratic Party asked Republican Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to officially disqualify Van Ausdal from the ballot and to be allowed to name a replacement candidate, though it’s not clear if he will allow them to do so.
According to Georgia law, a vacancy stemming from the “withdrawal of a candidate less than 60 days prior to the date of the election shall not be filled,” as Politico noted.
Greene was already favored to win the race because the district leans strongly Republican. President Donald Trump won 75% of the vote there in 2016, Business Insider previously noted.
Greene, who in August won a runoff primary race to become the only Republican candidate in the race, has made headlines for controversial statements and her promotion of a baseless, far-right QAnon conspiracy theory that the world is run by a Satanic cabal of elites aiming to bring down Donald Trump and his presidency.
The QAnon the conspiracy theory, which originated on 4chan, is centered around an unknown online individual called “Q,” who claims to have a top-security security clearance, as Business Insider’s Sonam Sheth and Eliza Relman previously reported.
“Q is a patriot, we know that for sure, but we do not know who Q is,” Greene said in a 2017 video posted to social media. “I don’t know who Q is, but I’m just going to tell you about it because I think it’s something worth listening to and paying attention to.”
As Business Insider’s Ben Gilbert previously reported, one QAnon belief is that former President Barack Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton are Satanists involved in a global pedophilia ring. The theories have no basis in reality and have been widely debunked by multiple reputable sources, including the New York Times.
As recently as Saturday, Greene appeared to double down on supporting the baseless theory, tweeting “with every cell in my body, I will always defend children and stop evil pedophiles.”
As Business Insider previously reported, Greene has espoused racist, anti-immigrant, Islamophobic, and anti-transgender rhetoric while dabbling in other far-right conspiracy theories about the coronavirus pandemic.
In a tweet last week, Greene said that children should not wear face masks to reduce the spread of the novel coronavirus, CNN reported. She also last week posted a photo of herself holding a gun next to photos of Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, and Rashida Tlaib, encouraging “strong conservative Christians to go on the offense against these socialists.” Both Facebook and Twitter removed Greene’s controversial posts.
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