The race for the Arkansas’ 3rd Congressional District is over, with Democratic challenger Ken Aden announcing Monday (July 9) afternoon that he is ending his bid to unseat U.S. Rep. Steve Womack, R-Rogers.
“Mr. Aden's campaign has, via overnight mail, submitted the necessary notification prescribed by the Arkansas Code to withdraw from the race for U.S. Congress. A copy of this notification has been provided to the Democratic Party of Arkansas as well," said Vince Leibowitz, spokesperson for the campaign.
Candace Martin, spokeswoman for the Democratic Party of Arkansas, said the Party will not be able to find another candidate. A Congressional candidate replacement is allowed only if a candidate dies or moves out of the state.
Aden said he was exiting the race in order to spend more time with his family and to help ensure victory for Democrats across the state in November.
Aden has also faced scrutiny about his military record.
The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette disclosed that Aden has in the past described himself as a former Green Beret, which is apparently not true. Aden has also previously claimed a degree from Arkansas State University, but that footnote is said to come as news to ASU officials.
The Aden campaign on June 29 released military records indicating he served as a special forces weapons sergeant. The campaign also released this response to allegations against Aden.
"Unfortunately, the ongoing saga related to my military records has created a tremendous distraction for our campaign, and I did not want this to have adverse consequences for Democrats across the district or anywhere else in the state," Aden said. "Additionally, as most of you know, I recently became a father for the first time, and I will be exiting this race in order to spend more time with my family," he continued.
Martin said it was unfortunate that his “tremendous service to his country as a veteran was overshadowed by his misstatement on his military service.”
“We certainly respect Mr. Aden’s decision to withdraw from the race. He has a young family to attend to,” Martin said.
Aden was not expected to win in November. Womack, who won the seat in 2010 with more than 70% of the vote, has remained popular with voters in the conservative district.
Womack issued this response: “I respect Mr. Aden’s decision and am sorry for his misfortune; however out of respect to the candidates representing the Green and Libertarian parties, it doesn’t change a thing insofar as my campaign is concerned. Our message is still about the future of our country and I will continue to represent, to the best of my ability, the Third District with honor and dignity.”