Democrat Kevin Van Ausdal announced Friday he is withdrawing from the 14th Congressional District race against Republican Marjorie Taylor Greene.

The district covers Floyd and 11 other counties in Northwest Georgia.

“I am deeply saddened by the personal and family reasons that prevent me from continuing on as a candidate ... 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,” he said.

Van Ausdal — who was campaigning vigorously as late as Wednesday night — said he will be moving out of Georgia. He thanked his supporters in a statement released by his campaign, and urged them to shift their support to a new nominee.

It was unclear Friday if there will be a replacement — or if Greene will be the sole candidate for the seat held by U.S. Rep. Tom Graves, R-Ranger, who did not run for reelection.

“Because we’re so close to the election, it changes the dynamics. You have to be deceased or disqualified to be replaced at this point,” said Wendy Davis.

The Rome city commissioner is a member of the Democratic National Committee and serves on the executive committee of the Democratic Party of Georgia.

Davis said that, since Van Ausdal is leaving the state, he could be declared disqualified. The decision will be made by Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, a Republican, after the formal paperwork is filed.

“When the secretary of state makes that determination, the party would name a candidate the next day,” Davis said.

While Davis is not directly involved in the withdrawal process, she said it would probably be early next week before the next steps, if any, are known.

The Associated Press reported that Deputy Secretary of State Jordan Fuchs said Friday the window has passed for Democrats to replace Van Ausdal.

On the ballot

While the presidential election on Nov. 3 is in the forefront of everyone’s minds, Floyd County voters also have a number of state and local races to decide.

♦ County Commission Post 3: Democrat Shonna Bailey is challenging incumbent Republican Allison Watters.

♦ County Commission Post 4: Democrat Charles Smith is challenging incumbent Republican Wright Bagby Jr.

♦ Clerk of Superior Court: Democrat Moriah Medina is challenging incumbent Republican Barbara Penson.

♦ State House District 12: Democrat Jonathan Gilreath-Harvey is challenging incumbent Republican Eddie Lumsden.

♦ State Senate District 52: Democrat Charles DeYoung is challenging incumbent Republican Chuck Hufstetler.

Statewide races on the ballot include two U.S. Senate seats and two seats on the Public Service Commission that oversees utilities.

♦ Democrat Jon Ossoff and Libertarian Shane Hazel are challenging incumbent Republican David Perdue for one of the Senate seats.

♦ A “jungle rules” election will decide the second Senate race, which is to complete the term through 2022 of Johnny Isakson, who stepped down last year for health reasons.

Gov. Brian Kemp appointed Republican Kelly Loeffler to serve until the election and she’s facing 20 other candidates — Democrats and Republicans — who also want the seat. Republican David Perdue and Democrat Raphael Warnock have picked up significant endorsements but the race is almost certain to go into a runoff.

♦ Public Service Commission: Incumbent Republican Lauren Bubba McDonald Jr. is being challenged by Democrat Daniel Blackman and Libertarian Nathan Wilson for one seat. Incumbent Republican Jayson Shaw is facing Democrat Robert G. Bryant and Libertarian Elizabeth Melton for the other.

♦ President: Republican incumbent Donald Trump and Democrat Joe Biden are the frontrunners for the nation’s chief executive slot. Libertarian Jo Jorgenson also is on the ballot in Georgia, along with 10 other candidates who qualified to have their write-in votes counted.


A number of local races were decided in the primary or the incumbent did not draw a challenger. The following candidates — all Republicans — will need at least one vote on Nov. 3 to start new terms in January:

Dave Roberson emerged as the last man standing in the sheriff’s race and will take over from Sheriff Tim Burkhalter, who is retiring at the end of the year.

Danny Waits has already been appointed to the county school board to serve out the remaining term of Melinda Jeffers. He’s the sole candidate for the seat in November.

Incumbents who will appear alone on the ballot are state House Reps. Katie Dempsey and Mitchell Scoggins; county school board members Melinda Strickland and Jay Shell; District Attorney Leigh Patterson; Tax Commissioner Kevin Payne; and County Coroner Gene Proctor.

Key dates

♦ Tuesday is the first day absentee ballots may be mailed out, under Georgia law.

The Floyd County Board of Elections has hired Arizona-based Runbeck Election Services to handle the requests and mailings, starting on Sept. 21. The contract is through the state, which used Runbeck during the primary to process over a million absentee ballot applications.

Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger has set up an online portal where all registered Georgia voters may request absentee ballots.

No reason is required, but the information must match exactly with what’s already on file. Visit the Georgia My Voter website for a link.

Applications by mail also may be printed from the Floyd County Elections website or requested through the office at 12 E. Fourth Ave.

♦ Oct. 5 is the last day to register to be able to vote in the Nov. 3 general election.

Registration can be done online through the My Voter Page or county elections office websites and in-person at the elections office and at any Georgia Department of Driver Services office. The one in Floyd County is at 3390 Martha Berry Highway.

Mail-in applications also are available at many public facilities, including libraries, schools and state offices such as DFCS and the Department of Labor. A complex of state offices is at 450 Riverside Parkway in Rome.

Voters must be legal residents of the United States, Georgia and the county where they are registering, and at least 18 years old by Election Day. Georgia does not allow anyone serving a felony sentence to vote.

♦ Oct. 12 is the start of the early in-person voting period, which runs through Oct. 30.

Universal precincts will be open Monday through Friday at the Floyd County Administration Building, 12 E. Fourth Ave.; Garden Lakes Baptist Church, 2200 Redmond Circle; and the Rome Civic Center, 400 Civic Center Drive on Jackson Hill.

The elections office also will be open both weekends for early voting and officials may add other locations.

All 25 precincts will be open on Election Day, when voters must go to the one where they are assigned.

Runoffs, if needed, will be on Dec. 1 for local and state offices and Jan. 5, 2021, for federal offices.

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