Jan Jones, the No. 2 in Georgia House, won’t run for Tom Price’s seat

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Jan Jones and David Ralston. AJC file

House Speaker Pro Tem Jan Jones, the top elected Republican woman in Georgia, said late Tuesday she would not run for U.S. Rep. Tom Price’s seat next year.

The Milton Republican said in a note to Republican colleagues that while the chance to represent the 6th District was appealing, she has decided to stay as the No. 2 Republican in the Georgia House.

“I am more invigorated than ever to answer the urgent call to make things better and create even brighter possibilities for my fellow Georgians,” she said in the letter.

She was being recruited by allies of Gov. Nathan Deal and other supporters to run for the seat, and spent the last few days in a constant churn of meetings and phone calls about the contest. It was no easy decision: A run for the U.S. House would force her to resign her seat – and a chance at the Georgia House’s top job if David Ralston steps down, is appointed to a judgeship or runs for higher office.

Her decision is likely good news for state Sen. Brandon Beach, whose network overlaps with Jones, state Rep. Chuck Martin, who could benefit from united support from the House, and former Secretary of State Karen Handel, who is vying to be the first Republican woman elected to Congress in Georgia.

The rest of the field remains muddled. Only state Sen. Judson Hill has announced, while a gaggle of other potential contenders – including former Johns Creek councilwoman Kelly Stewart and former state Sen. Dan Moody – are also eyeing the race.  Democrats, meanwhile, continued to search for a candidate for the heavily-Republican district, which stretches from east Cobb to Brookhaven.

Attorney Joshua McLaurin announced Tuesday on Facebook that he would run, but state and local Democrats said they had never heard of him. State Rep. Scott Holcomb, a DeKalb County Democrat seen as the party’s strongest candidate in a long-shot race, said he was not budging.

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Here’s Jones entire letter:

Dear Republican House Colleagues-

As the press release below conveys, I’m going to pass on the opportunity to run for the Sixth Congressional District seat, which will be vacated by Tom Price upon his confirmation for Secretary of Health and Human Services.  I gave about 10 days thought to the congressional vacancy and lined up a campaign team just in case.

Mostly, I want to express my gratitude to you personally for allowing me to serve as your Speaker Pro Tempore. I am eager to assist you in getting things done and making a difference for your constituents and state as a whole. After much deliberation, I concluded that I very much value the relationships among us and the tangible ways we touch Georgians at the state level.  I have seen how you care about your local communities and work to improve constituents’ lives.  I want to continue to be a part of that.

Thank you for all you do, and thank you for your friendship.

Jan Jones

And here’s the press release:

Speaker Pro Tempore of the Georgia House of Representatives

After considerable thought, prayer and discussion with my family, I have decided not to pursue election to the Sixth Congressional District seat, which will come open upon the confirmation of our friend Tom Price as Secretary of Health and Human Services.

Although the opportunity to serve Fulton, Cobb and DeKalb counties in Washington at a time of reform has appeal, I believe I can best serve all Georgians at this time as Speaker Pro Tempore of the Georgia House of Representatives.

I am more invigorated than ever to answer the urgent call to make things better and create even brighter possibilities for my fellow Georgians.

I look forward to continuing to serve the good people of House District 47. Additionally, I am excited to lead and assist Republican Caucus colleagues and all members of the Georgia House of Representatives to go further, faster in making a real difference in our state’s future.

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