Political Insider

An AJC blog about Atlanta politics, Georgia politics, Georgia and metro Atlanta election campaigns. Because all politics is local.

Why Lynn Westmoreland chose to leave Capitol Hill

U.S. Rep. Lynn Westmoreland is leaving Capitol Hill next month just as the GOP assumes total control of Washington and his party's presidential candidate takes the oath of office. The Coweta County Republican is trading his life as a seasoned lawmaker for an unknown political future as he spends time hanging out with his grandchildren, traveling the state and mulling a run for governor.

Despite that political uncertainty in an era of GOP bounty, the six-term congressman said in a recent exit interview that he has no qualms about leaving Washington now.

"When you’re watching a football game, sometimes you can see it better on TV than you can if you’re at the stadium," Westmoreland said.

He attributes part of his decision to leave to the ubiquitous presence of technology and social media, something that's gotten him in trouble for some of his more tactless comments in the past.

“Everybody’s got a camera, everybody’s got a recorder, and what you say in a small group that’s terribly funny, that y’all are just going to roll around on the floor and laugh and clink glasses and high-five …. that on the front of a newspaper is not funny,” he said. “So from that perspective, there’s not any environment that you can be in politically where you feel totally safe.”

Read more from our exit interview here. 

More Westmoreland coverage: 

Westmoreland’s biggest D.C. accomplishments were electoral

Westmoreland won’t seek another term in Congress

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About the Author

Tamar Hallerman is The Atlanta Journal-Constitution's Washington correspondent, covering Congress, federal agencies and other government activities that impact Georgia.