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Balfour Drops Out of Race for Linder’s Seat

Georgia state Sen. Don Balfour (R), the first candidate to jump into the open-seat race for retiring Rep. John Linder’s (R) seat, announced Thursday that he is dropping out of the contest and will retire from the state Legislature at the end of his term.

“Being a congressman has been something I thought I wanted to do,” Balfour said in a statement posted on his Web site. “Needless to say, when John Linder announced that he was not running for re-election, I jumped at the opportunity to be the new voice of leadership. However, for the past three weeks, I have not been at peace about this decision. I feel this is an appropriate time to let all my supporters know that I will also not be seeking reelection for the 9th district senate seat.”

Balfour has served in the state Senate for 18 years and currently serves as chairman of the Rules Committee. He is also an executive with Waffle House Inc., having worked for the company for more than 25 years.

“Now I can focus on finishing [the] session well and running an efficient Rules Committee,” he said in the statement. “I’m looking forward to welcoming my son home soon from his service in Afghanistan as well as continuing my career at Waffle House.”

With Balfour out, the frontrunner in the GOP primary now appears to be state Rep. Clay Cox (R). Gwinnett County Commissioner Mike Beaudreau is also considering throwing his hat into the ring.

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