GA-07: Linder Will Retire

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

35 thoughts on “GA-07: Linder Will Retire”

  1. I’m going to repost the comment I made a few minutes ago in the open thread:

    We should definitely put some sort of effort into this seat, as well as Balfour’s.  We probably won’t win either one, but it may set us up for something else later on, either in those seats or in down ballot seats by allowing Democrats to build a resume.  

    I wonder how much it also helps us at the state house level.  It looks like State Rep. David Casas (R) is in Balfour’s district, so I wonder if he may want to step up, especially considering he had a tough re-election last year and it doesn’t look much better for the future considering the part of Gwinnett he’s in, which is getting more minority and more Democratic.  

    Ditto former State Rep. John Heard (R).  Maybe he declines another run at State Rep. Lee Thompson (D), the guy who beat him.  Lawrenceville is going to be a tough area for a Republican to represent long-term.  Maybe Thompson will go instead for the more Republican State Senate district.

  2. Metro Atlanta is very likely getting a new seat. With a new R incumbent up for reelection, the Republicans are now more likely to try and play it safe than to grab the new one. But I would expect them to try anyway.  

  3. It may be the public sided with Clinton, but the impeachment vote was held anyway in December 1998.

  4. Republicans getting out at the best possible moment to hold their seat. If only Dennis Moore and others had followed the lead of Darlene Hooley two years ago then this cycle might not look so bad.

  5. While this retirement doesnt look good on paper (due to it being yet another GOP retirement) Linder is actually doing a favor to the GOP by retiring now instead of 2012. As the GOP is much, much likelier, this cycle compared to next, to not only hold this seat but not break a sweat. Due to the political environment, of course.  

  6. I’d love to hear retirement news in a seat where we have a good chance of a pick up.

    It’s strange how all these strongly GOP seats with longtime incumbents are opening up when folks like Charlie Cook would have us believe the GOP is on a collision course with regaining the House majority. I’d want to stick around and enjoy the spoils of the victor for a term or two.

    The only open GOP seats where we look to have better than even odds of a pick-up are IL-10 (Kirk) and DE-AL (Castle). Even then those seats are vacant because the incumbents moved up to their respective Senate races, making those more important races harder for us to win.

  7. State Rep. David Casas (R) is going to run for Balfour’s senate seat.  Casas represents are diversifying area that, if memory serves me correctly, was pretty close in its presidential vote (albeit for McCain).  Allen Burns, who incidentally ran against Linder in 2006, held Casas to under 55% in 2008.

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