Another retirement in the House of Representatives.

Rep. John Linder (R-GA) is calling it quits early next year after 18 years on Capitol Hill.

The announcement is said to have caught some key Republicans off-guard.

Linder was an acolyte of former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-GA). As a senior member of the House Ways and Means Committee, Linder ‘s long advocated a national sales tax to replace the income tax.

Rep. Dave Camp (R-MI), the top Republican on the House tax-writing panel, praised Linder in a statement.

“John knows more about the issues that come before the committee than most of the expert witnesses we have testify,” Camp said.

A native of Minnesota, Linder served in the Air Force and was a dentist before being elected to Congress in 1992.