Special election underway to fill vacancies left by the late David Ralston

A special election is currently underway to fill the seat for the late David Ralston.

Voters are choosing from three candidates to replace the late Speaker of the Georgia House. One of the candidates is his widow.

For the first time in 20 years, someone other than the late speaker will represent House District 7, which covers Fannin, Gilmer and parts of Dawson counties.

Many were shocked and surprised by Ralston’s death late last year. He’d just been reelected.

The vacancy has left two legislatives holes that need to be filled before the General Assembly convenes the second week of January.

One of those -- House Speaker -- will likely be filled by Ralston’s friend House Majority Leader Jon Burns, though the full House will still have to vote on that.

The other hole is for his legislative seat: District 7.

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Voters from Ellijay to Blue Ridge are going to the polls Tuesday to fill that seat.

Sheree Ralston, who was also the head of the Fannin County Development Authority, told Channel 2′s Richard Elliot last month that she was ready for the campaign

“I’m headed north to the district and look forward to a great campaign. Thank y’all so much,” Ralston said at the time.

Also running is North Georgia bank executive Johnny Chastain and online media show host Brian K. Pritchard.

Pritchard still needs to address questions as to whether he had voted illegally nine times while serving time as a convicted felon out of Pennsylvania.

He insisted he has not and hoped to work out what he called a misunderstanding with the state elections board.

“I am excited today to be on the ballot to run for Georgia House District 7,” Pritchard told Elliot on the day he qualified to run,

If there is no runoff in the race, the winner will be seated for the start of the General Assembly next week.

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