Another Republican decides that it’s quitting time:
Rep. John Linder (R-GA) will retire at the end of this term, according to local media reports, finishing an 18-year career notable for a rough stint as chair of the NRCC.
Linder, who represents a solidly GOP district on the northeastern outskirts of Atlanta, has served in public office since winning a seat in the GA House in ’74. After winning his House seat in ’92 by narrow 51%-49% margin, he never faced a serious challenge again.
A longtime ally of ex-Speaker Newt Gingrich, Linder took over the NRCC in during the ’98 cycle, when Gingrich was speaker. But the public sided with Bill Clinton after the GOP Congress impeached him, and GOPers lost 5 sets. Shortly after the election, Gingrich resgned, and Linder lost the NRCC chairmanship to then-Rep. Tom Davis.
Linder’s district, based in rapidly-diversifying Gwinnett County, saw a pretty substantial shift towards the Democrats over the last two Presidential cycles. While Bush cleaned up in this CD, winning the district by 70-30 in 2004, Barack Obama closed that margin to 60-39 four years later. However, those demographic shifts won’t be enough to put this open seat in the competitive column this year. We’ll have to wait and see what configuration this district will have after the next round of redistricting.
(Hat-tips: Rural Dem and SSP user TheUnknown285, who has long guessed in the comments that Linder was nearing retirement.)
RaceTracker Wiki: GA-07