After collecting 6,752 signatures to run as an independent candidate for Georgia Senate District 23, Chuck Pardue announced Thursday he was withdrawing from the race.
Pardue cited family reasons for the drop out, leaving Republican qualifier Jesse Stone with no opposition on the Nov. 2 ballot.
Pardue spokesman Gunner Hall said the condition of Pardue's son John, who was recently injured in Afghanistan, had worsened Monday and required the support of his entire family.
Working as a combat medic in Afghanistan, John Pardue aggravated a leg injury he'd suffered during air assault school and was forced to return to the United States for surgery earlier this month.
After treating his mortally wounded former roommate and others near Kandahar, Afghanistan, the younger Pardue also was diagnosed with moderately severe to severe post-traumatic stress disorder.
A Vietnam veteran, Chuck Pardue worked as a judge advocate general before retiring into the private practice of law.
The Democratic party tried to substitute Pardue's name for that of Leon Garvin, who qualified to seek Sen. J.B. Powell's Senate seat after Powell withdrew to run for commissioner of agriculture, after Garvin realized he did not live in District 23.
When it was deemed too late for the substitution, Pardue said he'd run as an independent instead.
Stone, an attorney and former Waynesboro mayor, said he hadn't heard about Pardue's decision Thursday afternoon.
"I met Mr. Pardue three times since the campaign began and I think he's a fine person. And I can understand why family comes first," he said.
Stone, now an unopposed candidate for the job, planned to get out and meet residents of District 23.
Powell had given his support to Pardue, as did the Georgia Democratic party.
"I want to thank every volunteer who helped to get me on the ballot. I also would like to thank Jane Kidd and the Democratic Party of Georgia along with the local county parties throughout the district who volunteered their time," Pardue said. "I wish them luck with the upcoming election, but due to unforeseen family matters I must respectfully bow out of this race," Pardue said.