|Updated: 7/09/2012 2:45 pm
||Published: 7/09/2012 1:29 pm
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - A congressional hopeful said Monday he's dropping out of the race for a northwest Arkansas seat amid questions about his military record.
Democrat Ken Aden announced he plans to withdraw from the race against Republican incumbent Steve Womack after the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported military records and statements from officials contradict Aden's claim that he was a U.S. Army Special Forces soldier.
"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 in a statement.
Aden said he intends to withdraw from the race effective 5 p.m. Monday.
Democratic Party spokeswoman Candace Martin said Aden's choice means there won't be a Democrat to challenge Womack in the fall. But she said that the party respects his decision.
"As we said from the beginning, it was unfortunate that the service he did make with our country by serving in active combat was overshadowed by the fact that he misspoke about his military service," Martin said.
The Democrat-Gazette reported last month that a review of Aden's military records showed he never completed the qualification course to become an Army Special Forces soldier.
The newspaper obtained the records through a Freedom of Information request.
"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 in a statement Monday.
Aden went on to say he was exiting the race for personal reasons as well.
"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," Aden said.
"I sincerely regret any difficulty that this situation has caused my fellow Democrats, my supporters, and staff. I will continue to remain a loyal Democrat and to my best to help Democrats in win in November."