Nathan Deal has called two press conferences tomorrow morning, one in Dalton and one in Gainesville, to announce that he is resigning from Congress.
Sources close to his campaign tell me that Deal will resign his seat in Congress to focus on his campaign for Governor. The thought process is that he is spending too much time in D.C., and needs to be around “Real” Georgia voters more often.
In doing so, however, Deal is giving up the turnout advantage for being the sitting Congressman while the vote for his replacement takes place. GA law calls for a special election to replace Deal, and assuming the special election clears the field for the general election, having an unopposed incumbent running in the 9th when the primary vote for Governor takes place is a major campaign disadvantage for Deal.
So why would Deal take the hit on turnout?
The House Ethics Committee came down hard on Charlie Rangel last week. The next case up was to look at Deal’s use of his Congressional staff to protect a no-bid State contract here in Georgia. The House ethics committee was due to release their findings in this case any day. Deal’s resignation probably makes this go away.
So, Deal can campaign full time after tomorrow. If he’s no longer a member of Congress, he can’t be on the list of CREW’s most unethical Congressmen anymore.
This one is unfolding rapidly. Check back for updates, clarifications, and if necessary, corrections.
Update: The following email was sent out by the Deal campaign to supporters this evening:
Nathan Deal, Candidate for Governor, will be making a major announcement on the steps of the Gainesville Civic Center Monday morning, March 1, at 9 a.m. If you are a friend of Nathan Deal, please join us there tomorrow morning for some good news for his campaign, Hall County and Georgia. It would be great to have a big turnout there for this event.