After recently being elected to a fifth term, U.S. Rep Rob Woodall announced on Thursday afternoon he would not seek re-election next year for the District 7 Congress seat he has held since 2011.
In a news release, Woodall said he would not be running again due to political and personal changes and wanting to give the next Republican candidate ample time to prepare for what is expected to be a hard-fought race in 2020.
“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,” Woodall said in the release. “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.”
In November, Woodall narrowly defeated Democrat Carolyn Bourdeaux in a race that required a recount of votes, with Woodall earning 50.16 percent of the vote, or 139,804 votes, while Bourdeaux had 49.84 percent, or 138,914 votes, as of election night.
The 0.32 percent margin between the two was well within the 1 percent threshold that would allow the runner-up to be granted a recount once the final results are certified.
Woodall has represented the 7th District that contains the majority of Forsyth and Gwinnett counties since 2011.
In Forsyth County, Woodall earned about 68 percent of the vote, or 44,887 votes.
“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,” Woodall said in the release. 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.”
Before facing Bourdeaux, Woodall defeated Republican challenger Shane Hazel is a primary for the seat. Woodall finished with 71.93 percent to Hazel’s 28.07 percent. Woodall carried Forsyth County, too, with 68.48 percent of the 17,767 local votes.
Woodall is a graduate of the law school of the University of Georgia and Furman University. He formerly served as chief of staff of former Congressman John Linder.
He serves on the House rules, budget and transportation and infrastructure committees.
In his campaign, Woodall favored making education more accessible, cutting red tape for business and Fair Tax legislation.
The seat is expected to be a battleground seat in 2020, and Marqus Cole, a Snellville Democrat and attorney, has already announced his candidacy.