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Challenger to QAnon supporter bows out of U.S. House race in Georgia

Supporters take photos with Marjorie Taylor Greene in Rome, Ga.
Republican Marjorie Taylor Greene, background right, has expressed support for the QAnon conspiracy theory and been criticized for other incendiary comments. Her Democratic opponent for a U.S. House seat representing northwest Georgia, Kevin Van Ausdal, dropped out of the race on Friday.
(Mike Stewart / Associated Press)

The Democratic candidate for a U.S. House seat in Georgia dropped out of the race Friday, clearing a near-certain path to victory for a QAnon-supporting Republican contender who has been criticized for her incendiary comments.

Democrat Kevin Van Ausdal bowed out of the race for “personal and family reasons,” his campaign manager, Vinny Olsziewski, told the Associated Press.

Deputy Secretary of State Jordan Fuchs said Friday that the window has passed for Democrats to replace Van Ausdal, likely sealing a win for the already-favored Marjorie Taylor Greene. Georgia law says a candidate who withdraws less than 60 days before the election cannot be replaced on the ballot.

Van Ausdal faced long odds in Georgia’s deep-red 14th Congressional District. He posted a statement to Twitter on Friday saying, “The next steps in my life are taking me away from Georgia,” disqualifying him from the seat.

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Greene has become notorious for her remarks about minorities and ethnic groups. In a series of videos unearthed in June, she alleges an “Islamic invasion” of government offices, claims Black and Latino men are held back by “gangs and dealing drugs,” and pushes an anti-Semitic conspiracy theory that billionaire philanthropist George Soros, who is Jewish, collaborated with the Nazis.

Most recently, Greene has said mask requirements aimed at controlling the spread of the coronavirus in schools emasculate boys, and posted a photo montage on Facebook showing her posing with a rifle next to three progressive Democratic congresswomen.

President Trump praises supporters of QAnon, a convoluted, pro-Trump conspiracy theory, and suggests he appreciates their support of his reelection.

Greene also is part of a growing list of candidates who have expressed support for QAnon, the far-right U.S. conspiracy theory popular among some supporters of President Trump.

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Greene has expressed strong support for Trump, touting a pro-gun, pro-border wall and antiabortion message. She has also expressed support for law enforcement and railed against Black Lives Matter protests that have taken place nationwide in recent months in support of racial justice and equality.

After Greene won the Republican primary runoff in August, Trump tweeted his congratulations, calling her a “future Republican Star.”


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