Republican Rep. Rob Woodall announced Thursday that he will retire at the end of the term instead of seeking re-election in 2020.
Woodall made the announcement just months after narrowly retaining his seat.
“I have realized over this past year of change – both in politics and in my family – that the time has come for me to pass the baton and move to the next chapter,” the Georgia Republican wrote in a news release. “I make this announcement as early as possible to ensure that quality conservative candidates have time to prepare for a vigorous campaign in 2020.”
Woodall’s announcement came on the heels of a tough race against Carolyn Bourdeaux, which he won by only 419 votes after a recount
Last week, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee included Georgia’s 7th District – Woodall’s suburban Atlanta district – on a list of 33 GOP-held seats to be targeted in 2020.
Many of the seats on the list represent diverse and growing suburban communities. Georgia’s 7th District is 20% black and 20% Hispanic.
Within hours of Woodall’s announcement, Bourdeaux indicated that she intends to run for Congress again in 2020 and “finish the job.”
“We’re getting back in the fight,” Bourdeaux wrote on Twitter.
She added that a formal announcement will come on Tuesday.
National Republican Congressional Committee Chairman Tom Emmer seemed optimistic Thursday that the seat will stay red.
“We look forward (to) keeping this seat in Republican hands and to nominating a top-notch Republican candidate who will protect individual freedom and expose the Democratic agenda for what it truly is - socialism,” Emmer wrote in a statement.
A former Hill staffer, Woodall was originally elected to Congress in 2010. He has served on the House Rules Committee, the Budget Committee and the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. Woodall’s announcement thanked those who had worked with him over the past eight years.
“Together, we have made a difference – a difference in the individual lives of families facing challenges here at home and a difference in the halls of Congress,” he wrote.
Woodall is the third House member to announce plans to retire at the end of this term, after Republican Reps. Walter Jones of North Carolina and Rob Bishop of Utah.