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Reed opts not to run for House

LAWRENCEVILLE -- Former Christian Coalition director Ralph Reed will not run for Congress.

Reed, who lives in Duluth, said he has decided against a race for the District 7 seat being vacated by U.S. Rep. John Linder, saying he would devote his time to the Faith and Freedom Coalition to help other races.

"I believe electing 50 to 100 men and women of character and conservative beliefs to Congress and statewide office over the next two election cycles is a more efficacious way to advance the conservative agenda than seeking public office myself in 2010," said Reed, who is also CEO of Century Strategies.

He said the Faith and Freedom Coalition he founded will lead "what may be the largest conservative get-out-the-vote effort in modern political history," with tens of millions of voter contacts in 2010 and 2012.

"These nationwide efforts offer a much better prospect for changing the direction of the country than winning a Congressional race myself," he said. "In the end, I concluded I cannot run for Congress and carry out the plans I have for Century Strategies and Faith and Freedom Coalition at the same time. I had to make a choice."

Reed, who ran an unsuccessful race for lieutenant governor in 2006, said he is not closing the door on a political race in the future.

"Should that door open in the future, perhaps I will arrive at a different decision, but I know this is the right decision at this time for me and the Reed family," he said. "(Wife) Jo Anne and I have been deeply moved and encouraged by the expressions of support we have received from so many. We are proud to call Georgia our home and we look forward to continuing to be involved in the civic life of our state and the nation."

In the two weeks since Linder, an 18-year incumbent, said he would retire at the end of his current term, three men have stepped forward for the race. State Sen. Don Balfour, state Rep. Clay Cox and Walton County businessman Tom Kirby, all Republicans.