Georgia 7th District Congressman Rob Woodall announced Thursday he will not run for re-election in 2020, setting the stage for a highly competitive election.
The announcement comes after the Republican incumbent narrowly defeated Democrat Carolyn Bourdeaux by only 419 votes in the November general election.
In his announcement posted on his campaign website, Woodall wrote,
“Serving Georgia’s 7th Congressional District in Congress has been one of the greatest honors of my life, with each term being an amazing opportunity to serve and to make a difference. Running for the first time in 2010 marked a new chapter in my life. 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, and so I have decided not to seek reelection in 2020. I make this announcement as early as possible to ensure that quality conservative candidates have time to prepare for a vigorous campaign in 2020. I can’t express in words how thankful I am to each person who has been at my side through these years and remained my partner through both the successes and the adversity. 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. None of this would have been possible without you, and I will always be grateful to you."
After a close race which required a recount in November, Democratic party officials had already targeted the 7th District which includes Forsyth and Gwinnett Counties as a battleground area in 2020.
In a statement to FOX 5, Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee spokesman Cole Leiter said, “Just days after the DCCC named Congressman Woodall as a top target on its 2020 battlefield, Woodall threw in the towel rather than attempt to defend his record in Washington of undermining protections for people with pre-existing conditions, and blowing a $1.9 trillion hole in the deficit in order to pay for tax handouts to the ultra-wealthy, while working people foot the bill. This is the 2nd Republican retirement in two months, but as the reality of serving in the minority sets in, we expect these early retirements to be merely the tip of the iceberg.”
Democratic Party of Georgia Chairwoman Nikema Williams also issued a statement, saying Woodall "is calling it quits because he sees the writing on the wall, and he sees the same Georgia that we do: One that is growing, more diverse, and more progressive."
Williams added, “The 7th District is a microcosm of the new Georgia as a whole. Make no mistake: We are the hottest battleground state in 2020 up and down the ballot, and Republicans are running scared. They should be.”
Observers expect a number of well-known people to now possibly enter the 7th District race, including Bourdeaux.