Rep. Tom Price (R-Ga.) won't run for the Senate, he announced Friday.

"Over the past few months I have been inspired by the encouragement and support of the great people across the 6th District and the entire state of Georgia to run for higher office," Price said in a statement. 

"As of today, it is my intention to offer myself for re-election to represent the citizens of the 6th District of Georgia in the U. S. House of Representatives in 2014."

Price had been mulling a campaign for the seat held by retiring Sen. Saxby ChamblissClarence (Saxby) Saxby ChamblissLobbying world GOP lobbyist tapped for White House legislative affairs The Hill's Morning Report - Gillibrand drops out as number of debaters shrinks MORE (R-Ga.) but most Republican strategists in the state hadn't expected him to jump into the crowded primary field.


The congressman's decision likely means his friend, former Georgia Secretary of State Karen Handel (R), will run. She's made a point to keep her name in the mix for the seat, and Georgia Republicans have long expected her to jump in if Price opted not to mount a bid.

Reps. Paul BrounPaul Collins BrounHundreds apply to fill Isakson's Senate seat in Georgia Joe Lieberman's son running for Senate in Georgia California lawmaker's chief of staff resigns after indictment MORE (R-Ga.), Phil GingreyJohn (Phil) Phillip GingreyEx-Tea Party lawmakers turn heads on K Street 2017's top health care stories, from ObamaCare to opioids Beating the drum on healthcare MORE (R-Ga.) and Jack Kingston (R-Ga.) are already in the race. Businessman David Perdue (R) is also moving towards a bid, according to sources, as is one of the owners of Atlanta's WNBA team.

Price is the second Georgia House member to opt against a bid this week. Rep. John BarrowJohn Jenkins BarrowRepublican wins Georgia secretary of state runoff to replace Kemp The most important runoff election is one you probably never heard of Our democracy can’t afford to cut legal aid services from the budget MORE (D-Ga.), who likely would have been Democrats' strongest candidate, said on Wednesday that he wouldn't run for the Senate. Democrats are now hoping that businesswoman Michelle Nunn (D), the daughter of former Sen. Sam Nunn (D-Ga.), will decide to run.

Price may have had the best shot at uniting the party in the fractured field: He has close ties to Atlanta's business community and a voting record loved by more hardline Tea Party Republicans, and isn't gaffe-prone like Broun and Gingrey. 

His decision not to run further complicates the GOP primary, and could make Democrats take a hard look at the race.

Updated at 1:37 p.m.