Parties need to vet all candidates

Our liberties rest only on the willingness of good men and women to charge into the fray of politics when they think change is needed in government. But merely getting into the battle is not enough. One must be willing to remain engaged.

In that light, what happened last week in Georgia should be viewed by all Americans, Republicans, Democrats and Independents alike, as a political tragedy.

National attention has focused on the race for one of Georgia’s seats in the U.S. House of Representatives. That is because the Republican candidate, Marjorie Taylor Greene, has said she supports the QAnon movement. It is enough to note that QAnon is based on conspiracy theories with no foundation in fact.

But on Friday, the Democrat who had been opposing Greene — Kevin Van Ausdal — dropped out of the race. It is too late for his party to name a substitute for the Nov. 3 election.

Van Ausdal’s campaign manager would say only that the candidate was leaving the race for “personal and family reasons.”

It is possible Van Ausdal has reasons, such as illness in his family, that left him no choice but to end his run. If so, the public ought to be told.

But it also is possible — more likely, in fact — that Van Ausdal found himself in over his head. Perhaps the pressure of a congressional campaign was more than he could take. Maybe he was acting on former President Harry Truman’s suggestion that, if you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen.

If so, shame on Georgia Democratic Party leaders for not vetting their candidate more thoroughly.

Whether one supported Van Ausdal or Greene, voters in Georgia’s 14th Congressional District were entitled to a choice on Nov. 3. Now. they will be deprived of that.

The Van Ausdal situation ought to be a lesson to political party leaders at all levels: When interviewing potential candidates, be certain the one you decide ought to be sent to the kitchen can stand the heat, both of being there and of seeking voters’ approval to send her or him there.


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