LITTLE ROCK — In an unexpected announcement, Republican U.S. Rep. Tim Griffin said Monday that he won't run for a third term representing central Arkansas in the U.S. House of Representatives.

"It has been an agonizing and difficult decision involving much prayer, thought and discussion," Griffin said in a statement. "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."

Griffin had no announced opponents and has more than a half-million dollars in the bank for the re-election bid. He easily won re-election in 2012 by defeating Democrat Herb Rule.

"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," he said.

In November, Griffin was named to the powerful U.S. House Ways and Means Committee, becoming the first Republican from Arkansas to serve on the tax-writing panel. At the time, Griffin said he wouldn't run for Arkansas governor or the U.S. Senate because of the appointment.

Griffin is a former interim U.S. attorney who's also worked in the White House Office of Political Affairs.

The announcement leaves two open seats in the U.S. House next year in Arkansas. The 4th congressional district is open after Republican U.S. Rep. Tom Cotton entered the race against Democratic U.S. Sen. Mark Pryor.