[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/03/01/art.nathandeal.2.gi.jpg caption="Rep. Nathan Deal, R-Georgia, announced Monday that he would resign from Congress next Monday to focus on his run for governor."](CNN) - Republican Rep. Nathan Deal of Georgia announced Monday that he's resigning from Congress next Monday to concentrate full time on his run for governor.
Deal was elected to the House of Representatives in 1992 as a Democrat and switched parties three years later. He represents Georgia's 9th Congressional district, which is located in the mountainous northern part of the state. Deal won more than three-quarters of the vote in his last two elections and the district is considered safe for the GOP.
Deal is one of 11 candidates in the race to replace Republican Gov. Sunny Perdue, who is term limited and can't run for re-election this year.
Deal's departure next week will bring the number of vacancies in the House to four. Three Democratic-held seats are currently vacant. Rep. Robert Wexler of Florida resigned at the beginning of the year to head up the Center for Middle East Peace, Rep. Neil Abercrombie of Hawaii stepped down this past weekend to concentrate full time on his bid for governor, and Rep. John Murtha of Pennsylvania died in office earlier this month.
Deal's announcement comes two days after Rep. John Linder, a fellow Georgia Republican, said that he won't run for re-election this November.
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