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Georgia House seat of late Speaker Ralston heads for runoff election

Come Jan. 31, voters will have to pick between two candidates.

FANNIN COUNTY, Ga. — Voters in north Georgia will have to head to the polls once again to determine who will fill the House District 7 seat. A runoff election will determine who will be the successor to the late House Speaker David Ralston. He died in November at 68 years old.

He served in the role since 2010, leaving a legacy as a political giant who was respected by both sides of the aisle. His wife, Sheree Ralston, is seeking to fill his seat.

She was one of five candidates listed on the ballot for the Jan. 3 special election in the reliably red district and garnered 45% of the votes - short of the 50% plus 1 threshold to secure the election. All candidates are Republicans.

The candidate pool has now been narrowed down to Ralston's widow and Johnny Chastain, who earned just about 39% of votes. Only 457 votes separated the two.

Sheree Ralson currently serves as the executive director of the Fannin County Development Authority. Chastain is an executive with United Community Bank in Blue Ridge. One could become the first new representative for District 7 for the first time in two decades.

The runoff election is on Jan. 31.

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