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Georgia House GOP names replacement for Speaker David Ralston

Rep. Jon Burns was named by a secret vote of the House GOP caucus.

ATLANTA — Georgia House Republicans elected state Rep. Jon Burns (R-Newington) to replace Speaker David Ralston.  

Burns was chosen Monday by a secret ballot of the GOP caucus.  Burns will not officially become Speaker until the full House goes into session in January.

Ralston recently announced he would step aside as Speaker due to an unspecified illness.  Ralston, an attorney from Blue Ridge, did not attend Monday's vote.  Ralston was elected speaker in 2010.

Burns defeated state Rep. Barry Fleming (R-Harlem), who helped write the controversial election bill that passed in 2021, SB 202.  Fleming's supporters cited his work on the bill, written after former President Donald Trump supporters challenged the results of Georgia's 2020 election.

Burns was viewed as a consensus candidate after some other potential challengers withdrew from the race and threw their support to Burns.

RELATED: Ralston announces he will not seek another term as Georgia House speaker

Credit: Georgia House of Representatives

Burns and Fleming spoke to Republican lawmakers from the well of the House Monday seeking votes for Speaker.  Burns also cited conservative legislative accomplishments, including the expansion of gun rights and the restriction of abortion rights.

Burns is a farmer and businessman from a rural district northeast of Statesboro. He has a law degree.  He has five grandchildren.

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