The Madison County Journal‘s Zach Mitcham has the scoop:
“It’s just my heart feeling that I just don’t have it in me to run,” said Hudgens. “There was no discouragement. I know they’re going to say that people from Augusta got to you. But I haven’t talked to anybody from Augusta except those who were encouraging me to run.”
He said he doesn’t plan to back anybody else in the 10th District Congressional race.
The article continues:
Hudgens said that he and his wife, Suzanne, have been praying about whether he should run. He said they reached a decision Friday morning.
Fair enough — running for Congress certainly isn’t for everybody. However, it would probably have been a better decision for Hudgens to have given the matter a bit more thought before he severely disrespected the previous officeholder with his rushing to announce candidacy on the day of Charlie Norwood’s death. If his decision on running wasn’t reached until today, then his foolishly-timed announcement of candidacy was an even more inexplicably poor choice.
“I’ve been out here three weeks on the campaign trail,” said Hudgens. “I just don’t have the fire in the belly that I need to do this. I’ve had tremendous reception everywhere I’ve gone. I just feel like I really don’t want to do this. I love being in the senate.” …Hudgens said that he will seek re-election to his District 47 post in 2008.
Again, there is no problem with that sentiment, or with that decision.
The problem comes from Hudgens’s abysmally foolish decision to announce his candidacy just as Mr. Norwood’s death was becoming public knowledge (a decision which almost certainly eroded potential support for his campaingn, and contributed to the ultimate decision to withdraw from the race), and from the domino effect his announcement of candidacy had on the region — including on Brian Kemp, who had announced that he was running to succeed Hudgens in the 47th, had filed for a campaign committee to raise cash for the run, and had garnered the endorsements of the entire Senate GOP Caucus and the Lieutenant Governor.
Hudgens’s decision to withdraw from the race was a good one. What little chance he might have theoretically had of winning the race likely evaporated the day of Mr. Norwood’s death, when Hudgens showed that he lacked even enough respect for a just-deceased colleague to even “wait until the body was cold” before rushing out to claim a stake in the 10th CD legacy. Hopefully Mr. Hudgens will take a lesson in grace and humility from this experience, and will apply it to his political and personal endeavors in the future.
The future of the 47th district may be an open question, as well. With Brian Kemp having been able to garner such wide support for a potential run (for a seat which had not officially been vacated yet), there is the possibility that Hudgens may soon be facing a primary challenge in the district — and from a former colleague. That is, of course, simply speculation; it is just as likely that Mr. Kemp would, out of a respect for his colleagues which Mr. Hudgens appears not to possess, decline to challenge an incumbent Republican in the ’08 primary.
However, were he to do so, there is a very good chance that he would win.