The race to replace Tom Price in Georgia's Sixth Congressional District will have one fewer candidate than expected: State Rep. Chuck Martin, R-Alpharetta, says he won't seek the seat after all.
Martin hadn't made an official announcement he would run but had made it clear privately he was gung-ho for the race (which of course won't officially begin until Price is confirmed as secretary of Health and Human Services ). Yet, he told me moments before the General Assembly opened its 2017 session Monday that he was opting against a run after traveling repeatedly to Washington, D.C., in recent weeks and getting a better feeling for what life as a congressman would be like.
"When you really look at it, to run and win, you have to leave the community you love to do the job," Martin said. "I felt like I would lose touch with my family and community. That's just not me."
The former Alpharetta mayor said he knew the race would be extremely competitive. "I had good feedback" about possibly getting in the race, he said. "I think we would have had support."
At the end, he said, the prospect of starting over from the standpoint of building relationships and political capital was too much.
"I was never going to be in Washington 10 or 12 years from now," he said. That wouldn't have been my plan. It has re-energized me for what we're doing down here (in the state legislature), though."
Martin is not the first high-profile Republican from northern Fulton County to pass on the race. State House Speaker Pro Tem Jan Jones and state Sen. John Albers previously said they would not run, and state Sen. Brandon Beach is thought to be leaning against it as well. So far, the only declared candidate on the GOP side is state Sen. Judson Hill of Cobb County. Former Secretary of State Karen Handel said last month she would make her decision early this year, but she is widely expected to join the race, as is former state senator and DOT board member Dan Moody.