ATLANTA - The Democratic Party of Georgia hopes to convince the Secretary of State to give them one more chance to compete in the 14th Congressional district race this November.
Last week Democrat Kevin Van Ausdal announced he would be stepping down and moving out of state for family reasons. That leaves Republican Marjorie Taylor Greene as the only remaining candidate in the race.
According to the Democratic Party, Van Ausdal has already set up residency in another state and they would like to choose a candidate to replace him.
"The ball is in the Secretary's court and it's up to him" said Sachin Varghese, the party's general counsel. "He can choose to give Marjorie Greene a free pass to Congress or he can do his job and ensure that only qualified candidates are on the ballot."
Under Georgia code, a candidate who withdraws from the race with less than 60 days until the election cannot be replaced.
"I think every single candidate should have to follow the laws in place and the Secretary of State's Office has already said it's too late to replace his name on the ballot," said Greene.
The law does allow a party to choose a replacement if a candidate is disqualified within that 60-day window, but the Secretary of State's Office is unlikely to do that.
"At this late stage in the election, Democrats are asking the Secretary of State to initiate a candidate challenge on their own candidate for U.S. House in the 14th District. The U.S. Constitution requires representatives to Congress to be inhabitants of the state “when elected.” So we will have to wait and see what state he inhabits when he is elected," said Deputy Secretary of State Jordan Fuchs in a statement to FOX 5. "The Secretary of State is not going to initiate a candidate challenge at this late stage in the process when absentee ballots have already begun to go out. If Mr. Van Ausdal feels he can no longer serve, he is welcome to withdraw as a candidate."
Varghese argued that there is still plenty of time to make a change and said the party would be prepared to name a new candidate by the end of the week.
"There is no legal impediment in the Georgia code or Constitution that prevents him from doing this," said Varghese. "Some absentee ballots have gone out, but the vast majority have not. No early vote has occurred yet--no in person--and obviously, we're weeks away from Election Day and so, there's plenty of time to do this and to give the voters of the 14th a choice."
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