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POLITICAL NOTEBOOK: Casas now to campaign for House re-election

Camie Young

Camie Young

Gwinnett politicians are returning to their positions on the ballot, two months after U.S. Rep. John Linder's retirement announcement caused them to scramble.

On Friday, state Rep. David Casas became the latest legislator to decide to continue in his current seat, ending a second domino effect from the county's first hotly contested congressional race in years.

Weeks ago, Casas jumped into a campaign for state Senate to replace Snellville's Don Balfour, after Balfour said he would run for Linder's seat.

But Balfour surprised many by pulling out of campaigning altogether not long after the congressional race began. His political plans were uncertain until a week ago, when he said he would once again run for his 9th District state Senate seat.

That left Casas, who had built tremendous momentum and had not even pulled a challenger, to decide whether he would challenge a popular incumbent or drop back to his District 103 House seat.

"Now is not the time to divide our great team of Gwinnett legislators in primary battles when we need to focus on creating jobs and growing the economy for all of Georgia," Casas said. "I would be honored to continue representing the great people of the 103rd District and work on creative ideas to get Georgia's economy back on track."

Casas had picked up many key endorsements in his Senate race, some of whom had also endorsed Steve Ramey, the sole candidates who had said he would run to replace Casas in the House.

While the former teacher from Lilburn got kudos from House Speaker David Ralston and Speaker Pro Tem Jan Jones when he said he would try to remain in the House, Ramey said he is still in the race.

Last week, he picked up an endorsement from the Atlanta Tea Party. (While the national and state Tea Party Patriots do not endorse candidates, local chapters are free to decide whether or not to support individuals.)

"We stand behind all our endorsements made at the Tea Party and feel Steve is the Constitutional conservative needed in the Georgia House representing District 103," said organizer Julianne Thompson.

Both are claiming endorsements from state Rep. Clay Cox, who is running for the congressional seat.

Political Notebook appears in the Thursday and Sunday editions of the Gwinnett Daily Post.

Camie Young can be reached via e-mail at camie.young@gwinnettdailypost.com.