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US Representative Tim Griffin used Twitter to unexpectedly announce this morning that he will not run for a third term, saying the decision involved “much prayer, thought and discussion” with his wife, Elizabeth.

He says his family needs to be his priority, and he will “step away from elected politics for a little bit” after serving out his current term.  He added that announcing now allows the GOP to more successfully field a good candidate in the 2nd District ract.

Rep. Griffin spoke to Alice Stewart on her morning radio show about his decision and also released this statement:

“Serving the people of the Second Congressional District is an honor, and I am grateful for the opportunity I have been given by my fellow Arkansans.  To those who have prayed for and supported me and my family, thank you–thank you for your kindness, commitment, time, trust and understanding.

grif-famGod has blessed me with a wonderful wife, Elizabeth, and two precious children, and for several months Elizabeth and I have been discussing whether to seek a third term in Congress, especially considering the formative ages of Mary Katherine and John.

It has been an agonizing and difficult decision involving much prayer, thought and discussion.  We have decided that now is the time for me to focus intently on my top priority, my family, as Elizabeth and I raise our two young children.

To that end, I will not seek reelection to a third term. I will complete my second term, but I have made no decision as to my plans after Congress except that I will continue in public service, including as a Lieutenant Colonel in the Army Reserve.

In September 2009, I launched my campaign for Congress as a common sense conservative and have kept my word by supporting bold but pragmatic solutions to address our most pressing problems, including a balanced budget, Medicare reform, repeal of Obamacare, tax reform, and regulatory reform.  I am proud that the House’s efforts resulted in the Budget Control Act (BCA), the largest spending reduction in American history.  I am equally proud that the House has stopped numerous harmful proposals.

I choose to be a citizen-legislator rather than a career politician, and I will continue to do my best representing my fellow Arkansans through the remainder of my term.

I believe 2014 will be another historic year for conservatives in Arkansas, and I stand ready to help with that effort and make sure a conservative wins the 2nd Congressional District.  Several Democrats have reportedly been looking at running for this seat.  As a result, it is imperative that I make and announce my decision now not to seek a third term so that Republican candidates who wish to succeed me will be able to prepare their campaigns and compete on an equal playing field with the Democrats.

May God continue to bless Arkansas and the United States of America.”