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U.S. Rep. Drew Ferguson, a Georgia Republican, Says He Won’t Seek Reelection in 2024

Republican Rep. Drew Ferguson said Thursday he won’t seek reelection to his Georgia seat in 2024.

“Julie and I look forward to spending more time with our children and grandchildren while continuing to work to keep Georgia the best state in America to live and do business,” Ferguson said in a statement.

He said he plans to serve the remainder of his fourth term representing western Georgia’s 3rd District, which expires at the end of next year.

The announcement comes two months after Ferguson said his family had received death threats amid the inner turmoil Republicans faced in electing a new House speaker following the ouster of Rep. Kevin McCarthy of California.

The threats came after Ferguson publicly withdrew his support for GOP Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio, a favorite of hard-right conservatives. Ferguson said he refused to support “a bully” for speaker and that the threats were “unacceptable, unforgivable, and will never be tolerated.”

A former mayor of West Point, Ferguson was elected to Congress in 2016 in a district west of Atlanta that hugs the Georgia-Alabama state line. Ferguson later moved from his hometown to a house in Pike County, south of Atlanta, near the rural town of The Rock.

He served in the House GOP leadership as the chief deputy whip from 2018 through 2022 and holds a seat on the tax-writing Ways and Means Committee. But his attempts to rise in the House leadership were spurned by fellow Republicans. He lost a three-way race for whip to Minnesota Representative Tom Emmer in 2022.

Ferguson’s retirement is likely to set off a scramble among ambitious Republicans who would like to go to Congress. Ferguson was already being challenged by Jim Bennett, a Republican activist from Carroll County who had criticized Ferguson as insufficiently conservative.

Other Republicans who said they were considering bids Thursday include state Sen. Matt Brass of Newnan, state Rep. David Jenkins of Grantville and former state Rep. Philip Singleton, who wrote on Facebook that “We are very open to a run.” Singleton lost a challenge to Ferguson in the 2018 Republican primary before serving two terms in the state House and being redistricted out of office by a GOP leadership who didn’t like his hard-right politics and confrontational style.

Republican state senators who represent other parts of the district, including Mike Dugan of Carrollton and Randy Robertson of Cataula, could also be contenders. Neither immediately responded to text messages Thursday asking about their interest.

Others could include Brian Jack, a former White House political director for President Donald Trump and former aide to House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, and Chris West, a Republican who lost a bid for southwest Georgia’s 2nd Congressional District in 2022 to longtime Democratic incumbent Sanford Bishop. West recently moved from Thomasville to Newnan.

West called Ferguson “a great friend and fighter for the 3rd District of Georgia” on Facebook Thursday, but didn’t say anything about his own plans.

Ferguson’s 3rd District seat leans solidly Republican. He easily fended off a GOP primary challenger last year before winning reelection to a fourth term with 69% of the vote.

State lawmakers in recent weeks redrew Georgia’s congressional map under a federal judge’s order to add a majority-Black district. But the Legislature’s Republican majority produced a map that didn’t change the boundaries of the 3rd District, which runs from Carrollton south to Columbus along the Alabama state line and skirts the southwestern edge of Atlanta’s suburbs, stretching to Griffin and Barnesville. The map overall would maintain the GOP’s 9-5 hold on the state U.S. House delegation and protect Republican incumbents.

However, those who successfully sued to overturn Georgia’s congressional districts have asked a federal judge to reject the plan and draw his own. Those challengers have suggested changes that could bring big changes to the 3rd District, injecting uncertainty into the decisions of possible candidates.

Source: WABE