U.S. Rep. Nathan Deal has resigned from Congress after casting a vote against a sweeping Democratic-sponsored overhaul of healthcare. He is leaving to pursue the Republican nomination for governor in Georgia.

Deal submitted his resignation to Gov. Sonny Perdue after the healthcare vote late Sunday night. It took effect at 11:45 p.m. Sunday night.

Deal — who’d been facing a pair of congressional ethics inquiries while in the House — had initially said he planned to step down March 8. He pushed the date back to help add to the Republican vote tally against health care. House Republicans were unanimous in their opposition to the bill.

Deal is one of seven Republicans running to replace Perdue, who is barred by term limits from running again.