11:35 am February 27, 2010, by jgalloway
U.S. Rep. John Linder, the Republican from Gwinnett County, this morning announced that he would retire from Congress after 18 years.
Linder made the announcement at the dedication of a new Gwinnett County GOP headquarters. Linder aide Derick Corbett confirmed the congressman’s decision. “He will not seek re-election,” Corbett said.
The announcement, made at the tail end of a brief speech by Linder, caught attendees off-guard. “Nobody knew it was coming,” said David Hancock, District 2 manager for the Gwinnett GOP.
Linder was one of Newt Gingrich’s top lieutenants when he was U.S. House speaker, and most recently has been an advocate (paired with radio commentator Neal Boortz) for a sales tax to replace the federal income tax.
His retirement will set off a rush for his seat, which is solidly Republican. Among the likely contenders is Don Balfour, the state Senate rules chairman.
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