Deal’s press release:
WASHINGTON – Following President Obama’s Wednesday announcement that he would seek a quick vote on health care, Congressman Nathan Deal, R-Ga., today announced that he will postpone his resignation until later in March. Deal discussed the change with Governor Sonny Perdue, who strongly encouraged him to stay.
“Just two days after I announced my intentions to leave Congress, the majority party stepped up the schedule for the proposed health care bill. Having been deeply involved in all health care legislation for the past decade, I knew it was important to stay and vote down this bill.
“I announced my resignation from Congress to focus on winning the Republican primary for governor so as to deny Roy Barnes the opportunity to face the Republican candidate who currently leads solely based on name recognition, but is the one Republican that Roy Barnes is sure to defeat.
“Yesterday, as I listened to President Obama’s aggressive push for a quick vote on ‘Obama-Care,’ it was clear that I must stay in Congress and continue to fight against the most liberal health care agenda ever proposed.”
According to the AJC:
This afternoon, White House press secretary Robert Gibbs set March 18 as the deadline by which President Barack Obama expects final passage of a health care bill.
Deal has decided to delay his resignation to fight the Democrat’s health care reform, but still faces the possibility of his ethics inquiry resurfacing. This week just gets “curiouser and curiouser”.
Update: Jim Galloway explains why Deal’s resume complicates election dates:
The delay of Deal’s resignation could also put pressure on the governor to delay a special election to fill the 9th District seat until the July primary. The earliest such an election could be held now is mid-May. The primary is July 20.
Theoretically, a special election concurrent with the July primary would benefit Deal’s gubernatorial chances by creating a strong 9th District turnout to fill his shoes.
But it would also be confusing, requiring two rounds of balloting: One would be a special, non-partisan election to fill Deal’s term through the end of 2010. The same candidates, most of them Republican, would appear on the ballots selected by Democratic and Republican voters.
A second round of voting, for the full two-year term that begins next January, would be segregated by party. Republican voters would only be able to vote for Republican candidates, and Democratic voters could only vote for Democratic candidates.