Tom Graves

U.S. Rep. Tom Graves, R-Ranger, discusses coronavirus antibody testing with CDC Director Robert Redfield during a June 4, 2020, House Appropriations subcommittee hearing into the Trump Administration's response to the COVID-19 outbreak.  

WASHINGTON — U.S. Rep. Tom Graves announced Friday that he plans to resign from Congress next month, starting his planned retirement a little early.

The Ranger Republican’s district covers Floyd, Polk, Gordon and nine other Northwest Georgia counties.

Graves, who said in December he would not seek another term, is the top Republican on the Modernization of Congress Committee, a select panel authorized only for the 116th Congress. He said Friday that with the panel’s work coming to a close, he intends to leave the House once final recommendations have been adopted “and begin the next chapter of life in October.”

“Congress is going into a long recess and my committee work will be complete. In short, my work will be done. I’m announcing this today to avoid surprises, and it just doesn’t seem right to kill time on the taxpayer dime,” he said in his resignation announcement.

Graves is also the ranking member of the Financial Services Appropriations Subcommittee. His work there is mostly done as well since Congress is preparing to pass a stopgap funding bill to get through the first few months of the new fiscal year that begins Oct 1.

House leaders have not yet announced plans to vote on the Modernization Committee’s coming recommendations, but Graves hinted such a vote would be scheduled.

“One of the last votes I’ll cast as a U.S. Representative will be in support of the reforms crafted by the Modernization Committee to make Congress work better for those we serve,” he said. “I can think of no better way to leave The People’s House.”

Graves’ early retirement may allow for less confusion on the Hill with the other two House Republicans who share his last name, Missouri’s Sam Graves and Louisiana’s Garret Graves.

Graves said he expects to complete any important district items needed to ensure a successful transition before he departs.

His successor in Georgia’s 14th District is likely to be Republican Marjorie Taylor Greene, a QAnon supporter who has filmed videos espousing bigoted ideas. QAnon is a wide-ranging conspiracy theory that alleges a “deep-state” plot against President Donald Trump.

Having won the GOP primary runoff in August, Greene was expected to easily win the general election for the deep-red Northwest Georgia seat that Trump carried by 53 points in 2016. She now has an apparently clear path to serving in the 117th Congress after her Democratic opponent Kevin Van Ausdal, a financial technology professional, dropped out of the race Friday.

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