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Democrat in race against Marjorie Taylor Greene drops out

The Democratic candidate challenging Republican Marjorie Taylor Greene, a controversial figure who has promoted the QAnon conspiracy theory, for a Georgia House seat abruptly ended his campaign on Friday, announcing that he is leaving the state. 

In a statement, Kevin Van Ausdal attributed his decision to withdraw from the race to “family and personal reasons,” but did not elaborate on what had prompted him to end his campaign.

“I am heartbroken to announce that for family and personal reasons, I cannot continue this race for Congress," Van Ausdal said. "After lengthy discussions with my team, attorneys, party officials, and others, the answer was clear, stepping aside would be best for voters.

"The next steps in my life are taking me away from Georgia, so I will be disqualified from serving in Congress and will give the Party a chance to put forward a candidate that can carry this fight to the end.”

Van Ausdal was a long shot to win the race to represent Georgia’s 14th Congressional District, which covers the northwestern corner of the state. The district is currently represented by retiring Rep. Tom GravesJohn (Tom) Thomas GravesQAnon proponent Marjorie Taylor Greene wins Georgia House race Live updates: Democrats seek to extend House advantage On The Money: Trump gambles with new stimulus strategy | Trump cannot block grand jury subpoena for his tax returns, court rules | Long-term jobless figures rise, underscoring economic pain MORE (R-Ga.), who has easily won reelection under  the current district lines since 2012. President TrumpDonald John TrumpMinnesota certifies Biden victory Trump tells allies he plans to pardon Michael Flynn: report Republican John James concedes in Michigan Senate race MORE carried the district in 2016 by more than 50 points.

Greene won the Republican nomination for the seat last month after a GOP runoff, and is almost certain to represent the district in Washington next year. Still, her nomination has sparked controversy because of her support for the baseless QAnon conspiracy theory.

It’s unlikely that the Georgia Democratic Party will be able to replace Van Ausdal on the ballot in November. Georgia state law holds that a vacancy for a party nomination due to a candidate’s withdrawal can’t be filled within 60 days of an election. The Nov. 3 election is 53 days away.