Election 2020

The Democratic candidate for Northwest Georgia’s congressional could file his formal withdrawal notice as early as Tuesday.

Kevin Van Ausdal’s campaign staff said he’s finalizing documents confirming his move out of state and will submit them as soon as they are available.

Although Democratic Party leaders are working behind the scenes, the secretary of state’s office repeated on Monday that the window is closed to replace Van Ausdal as their candidate for the 14th Congressional District.

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

Fuchs cited Georgia 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 that covers Floyd and 11 other counties in the region.

Van Ausdal announced his withdrawal Friday.

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

The Democratic Party of Georgia is hoping that moving out of state would be termed a disqualification rather than a withdrawal. In that instance, there is provision to allow the party to replace that candidate.

The decision would be made by Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, a Republican, after the formal paperwork is filed.

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

Another slight twist was announced on Friday, when U.S. Rep. Tom Graves, R-Ranger, said he is resigning in October — with two months left in his term.

When a vacancy occurs in Congress, state law requires the governor to issue a writ of election within 10 days to fill the vacancy. However, with less than 60 days to Election Day on Nov. 3, it is unlikely that a special election would be held for that post.

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