Election 2020

The Secretary of State’s office said Monday that the window is closed for the Democratic Party to replace Kevin Van Ausdal as their candidate for the 14th Congressional District.

“The law is clear,” Deputy Secretary of State Jordan Fuchs said on Monday. “Mr. Van Ausdal can withdraw his candidacy or remain on the ballot. He cannot be replaced.”

Fuchs cited Ga. code 21-2-134-(c) “any vacancy which occurs in any party nomination filled by a primary and which is created by reason of the withdrawal of a candidate less than 60 days prior to the date of the election shall not be filled.”

If that holds true, Republican Marjorie Taylor Greene will be the sole U.S. House of Representatives candidate on the ballot for the district which covers much of Northwest Georgia, including Gordon County.

Van Ausdal announced Friday he is withdrawing race, but as of noon Monday he had not officially filed paperwork to do so.

The Atlanta Journal Constitution reported that Van Ausdal decided to drop his candidacy after the terms of a pending divorce forced him to vacate his home in Catoosa County. He decided to move in with family in Indiana.

The Democratic Party of Georgia placed hopes that moving out of state would disqualify Van Ausdal from running for the post. In that instance, there is provision to allow the party to replace that candidate.

That decision would be made by Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, a Republican, after the formal paperwork is filed. Van Ausdal had not filed the formal paperwork as of noon Monday.

If allowed, the party is poised to put in another candidate, Rome City Commissioner Wendy Davis said. She is a member of the Democratic National Committee and serves on the executive committee of the Democratic Party of Georgia.

Their hopes, Davis said, lay in the possibility that the secretary of state would have to disqualify Van Ausdal since he leaving the state.

Another question for the congressional seat, which will soon be vacated by Rep. Tom Graves, R-Ranger, is what will happen after Graves follows through with his announcement that he will retire early.

Graves announced last Friday that he would resign in October. The AJC reported that Gov. Brian Kemp’s office has stated he will issue a writ within 10 days to set up a vote.

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