Rep. Bob Ney formally requested Aug. 14 that his name be removed from the November election ballot in Ohio, ensuring that a special primary election will be held to replace the embattled Republican.
His letter officially notifying election officials ends speculation about whether he would wait until after Aug. 19, when party leaders would have been able to appoint a replacement.
Mr. Ney announced he would withdraw from the race two weeks ago, citing the strain of an intensifying corruption investigation that had focused for months on his dealings with lobbyists. The sixterm congressman denies any wrongdoing and has not been charged.
Democrats targeted Mr. Ney’s seat in the wake of the Jack Abramoff lobbying scandal. Mr. Ney’s campaign began hemorrhaging money after his former chief of staff pleaded guilty to conspiring to corrupt the congressman, and the Justice Department subpoenaed Ney aides in Ohio and Washington.
Democrats hope Mr. Ney’s legal troubles will help them gain one of the 15 seats they need this fall to take control of the House, the Associated Press reports.
Ohio Republican Party Chairman Bob Bennett said he spoke to Mr. Ney the morning of Aug. 14 about the decision to have a primary instead of letting local party officials choose a new candidate.
“He told me he really thought the voters of the district should make the decision in selecting the candidate, rather than the party chairmen,” Mr. Bennett said.