Candidate withdraws from congressional race after military history is questioned
July 9th, 2012
05:58 PM ET
2 years ago

Candidate withdraws from congressional race after military history is questioned

(CNN) - A Democratic congressional candidate in Arkansas ended his campaign Monday after facing questions over his military record.

Ken Aden, the challenger against incumbent Rep. Steve Womack in a heavily Republican district, made the announcement in a statement posted to his website.

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"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.

He added that 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.

CNN affiliate KATV reports Aden was quoted by media outlets saying he was a Green Beret and qualified as a Special Forces soldier.

But the Army confirmed to CNN that Aden never qualified as a Special Forces soldier.

After Aden completed some of the Special Forces training, "he failed to meet the standards of the course" and was "removed from the course" in October 2007 for "academic reasons," according to Dave Chace, public affairs specialist and operations officer at the U.S. Army John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School in Fort Bragg, North Carolina.

Aden was later "relieved from the course April 29, 2008 after failing twice to pass the Light Weapons Exam and Hands-on Mortar Exam."

Chace acknowledged, however, that Aden had been issued an erroneous order, awarding him "18B military occupational specialty." Following media scrutiny over the order, the Army revoked it last week.

But at the time of his dismissal from the Special Forces training, Chace said Mr. Aden received substantial counseling and documentation noting his removal, which suggests Aden was fully aware he had not finished the course or merited the order.

In his statement, Aden concluded: "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 do (sic) my best to help Democrats win in November."

Aden, who ran unopposed in the Democratic primary, had been challenging Womack for the election scheduled for November.

Candace Martin with the Arkansas Democratic party told CNN that they will not be able to find another candidate in time to run against Womack. Arkansas state statute says a congressional candidate replacement is only allowed if a candidate dies, is severely sick or moves out of the area.

The district, which Martin says has been redrawn several times, was the same one that former President Bill Clinton ran for in 1974, but lost.


Filed under: 2012 • Arkansas
soundoff (10 Responses)
  1. fredricwilliams

    What's this country coming to? A politician accused of lying - and then withdrawing from a race????

    If this continues, we will have no candidates at all!

    July 9, 2012 06:14 pm at 6:14 pm |
  2. texian

    "and do (sic) my best"

    What's wrong with this?

    July 9, 2012 06:33 pm at 6:33 pm |
  3. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    Sen. Kirk from IL had a similar problem, but the supreme court says its now OK to lie about military service.

    July 9, 2012 06:34 pm at 6:34 pm |
  4. Myviewis

    No big deal, we were told Obama was a professor when in reality he was a part-time Lecturer for 12 years handling 3 courses per year and then there's the Lawyer career of only 4 years and he even allowed his Law license to expire in 2002 and Community Organizer dealt with voting and protesting not outreach program to the sick and needy. Not a surprise that this Democrat thought he too could leave some details out and enhance others.

    July 9, 2012 06:34 pm at 6:34 pm |
  5. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    He joins the elite crowd of a lot of politicians who are liars both Democrat and Republican, some are dead and some are still holding office.

    July 9, 2012 06:48 pm at 6:48 pm |
  6. clownshoes

    Another lying Democrat. Now Warren should exit the race.

    July 9, 2012 07:14 pm at 7:14 pm |
  7. Thomas

    Did he serve in the milatary ? Did he spend any time over seas ?

    Or did he just wash out of the Special Forces ?

    If he lied , he's an idiot !

    July 9, 2012 07:15 pm at 7:15 pm |
  8. bauserdotcom

    If he wants to help his party out, he can move out of state, and they'll be able to replace him on the ballot.

    If you're lying about your military record in Arkansas, it might be a good idea to consider moving, anyway.

    July 9, 2012 07:33 pm at 7:33 pm |
  9. 100 % ETHIO

    ...aaa you better concealed yourself from the Media, by withdrawing any public services, before it's too late. I don't know what is written in your resumes.

    July 9, 2012 08:04 pm at 8:04 pm |
  10. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    This is another example of lying is bad. Why do people assume that they need to puff up their record? I can't imagine why they would do that because they know they would be caught.

    July 9, 2012 09:54 pm at 9:54 pm |