The Georgia 14 Congressional Race became a subject of national conversation in a way that no one expected this Friday.
Kevin Van Ausdal had been running a longshot, but surging, campaign for Congress in a battle against QAnon Candidate Marjorie Taylor Greene when it abruptly came to an end on Friday. The campaign posted an announcement to their social media pages and sent out a statement to the media that due to personal reasons involving his family, Kevin would be removing himself from the race. He detailed further that he was no longer going to be able to reside in Georgia and thus was disqualified from running for Congress in the state.
The Van Ausdal campaign later gave details that Kevin had been unexpectedly served with divorce papers late Wednesday evening and ordered to vacate his home in Rossville. Thursday, when Kevin met with his attorney and then conferred with his campaign, it became clear that the divorce was not going to be resolved quickly, and there was no clear timeline when he would be able to return home.
Van Ausdal was already living on a tight budget with his wife and two-year-old daughter, leaving no money for a secondary residence and divorce attorney costs. After conferring with his Campaign Manager Vinny Olsziewski and his core team, they had to face the campaign’s end. Until he could get his divorce sorted, Van Ausdal would have to relocate to Indiana, where he was originally from, and his family still lived. Since Kevin was moving from Georgia, he was constitutionally barred from being on the ballot for Congress.
State Election Law in Georgia states that no candidate can withdraw from the race 60 days before an election and be replaced on the ballot. Van Ausdal was not withdrawing, though, a point that initially caused significant confusion in media reports and response from the Georgia Secretary of State. Instead, he was barred from continuing his Congressional campaign as a non-Georgia resident. Constitutionally Kevin Van Ausdal cannot appear on a Georgia ballot for Congress even if he was disqualified less than 60 days before the election.
“We had no choice,” said Campaign Manager Vinny Olsziewski. “The campaign was raising tens of thousands of dollars, we were gaining major attention, but we had a candidate that legally couldn’t be on the ballot and risked major Federal penalties if he continued. We had to stop the train.”
Olsziewski detailed how after numerous conversations with the Democratic Party of Georgia, Van Ausdal, and the campaign team, they realized that the situation would be messy at best but that there were no other options. The campaign noted they legally could not use campaign funds to house Van Ausdal, and if the situation changed and he was eventually forced to move to Indiana anyway, it would only be much worse.
“Our first job is to respect the Constitution,” said Olsziewski. “It’s the very first thing they check when you put your name on the ballot. As heartbreaking as it was, we had to protect Kevin, his family, and respect the office.”
The Van Ausdal Campaign has been working to help Kevin close out the last steps of his move and then make the official changes with the Georgia Secretary of State. Once that is complete, the Secretary of State will have to determine how to deal with Kevin’s disqualification and replacing him on the ballot.