Less than a week after Ben Higgins filed to run for a seat in the Colorado House of Representatives, the former Bachelor star suddenly dropped out of the House District 4 race.
Higgins announced the news last week in a statement obtained by ET that said in part, "Despite my best efforts to pursue this opportunity in good faith, I recently received information that has made such a pursuit unworkable. Due to unforeseen circumstances, I will not be able to move forward as a candidate."
While his statement did not divulge what the “unforeseen circumstances” were exactly, a person close to his campaign told ET that Disney, which owns ABC and airs The Bachelor, had a heavy influence in this decision.
According to the individual familiar with the campaign, Disney allegedly gave Higgins an ultimatum: He could either continue his run for Republican office or he could keep his career as a member of the Bachelor family for the next several years.
“Really, it was a choice posed to him in the last week or so that if he continued his campaign they would exclude him from The Bachelor franchise moving forward," the source explained.
Future Bachelor-related projects include his upcoming reality series with fiancé Lauren Bushnell, Ben and Lauren: Happily Ever After, which is set to premiere in October on Freeform (part of the Disney/ABC networks).
In addition to his own planned spin-off, Higgins would also be exempt from a separate wedding special planned for him and Bushnell, as well as an upcoming episode of Celebrity Family Feud that was taped a few weeks ago.
Losing out on all of these projects would surely result in a serious financial loss for the hunky reality star, who resides in Denver, Colorado, with Bushnell. He popped the question to her during the season 20 finale of The Bachelor, which aired in March.
The source also divulged that Higgins has a contractual obligation with ABC regarding his future wedding. “If he were to get married without ABC present, he would be in breach of contract. They have the rights to film it so he could not even set a time to get married if he was going to move forward with the political campaign,” the insider told ET.
A spokesperson for Freeform released a statement in response to the allegations on Monday, stating, “These assertions are categorically and patently untrue. Freeform simply shared with Mr. Higgins its concern that broadcasting and promoting a show featuring a campaign for Colorado state office could raise significant compliance issues under Colorado election laws.”
When it was first announced that Higgins would not be running for public office, his campaign manager, Dustin Olson, told ET in a statement that “Ben and our team are incredibly disappointed.”
“Between support from our friends in the Republican Party, building a talented campaign team, and lining up financial support, we were ready to kick off the campaign with a huge announcement rally next week," Olson said in the statement. "Mostly we are disappointed with the situation because the people who live in House District 4 deserve much better representation."
In his own statement from last week, Higgins concluded by simply declaring, “I entered into this endeavor wanting to bring positive change to my community, and it is with that same spirit that I will move forward, albeit on a different path.”