Elected to the House in October 1999 after 26 years on the Aiken City Council, Mr. Perry said that he has had a good run but that "you always leave when the party's going good."
"I have not closed the door on future leadership opportunities, but as far as the House is concerned, my work is done," he said.
His announcement was unexpected and surprised many.
Rep. Roland Smith, R-Langley, said the news caught him off guard. He said that when he saw Mr. Perry last week "he seemed upbeat."
Mayor Fred Cavanaugh, who served with Mr. Perry on the city council, said he also was surprised
"Undoubtedly, there will be a lot of folks who will want to run" for his seat, the mayor said.
In a statement, Mr. Perry said he is confident that his seat will be filled by a fellow Republican in the 2008 election.
Aiken County Councilman Scott Singer, who ran against Mr. Perry in 1999, said that he would give "strong consideration" to running for the District 81 seat.
Mr. Singer said that Mr. Perry's long commitment to public service should be honored.
Before his term is finished, Mr. Perry said, he has work to accomplish, such as revision of a tax finance bill.
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