by T.A. DeFeo
Georgia House Speaker David Ralston, the longest currently serving state house speaker in the country, will not seek another nomination for the leadership post.
Ralston, the 73rd speaker of the state House, will serve the rest of his term, which ends in January, but will not seek another term for the two-year legislative session that starts in January.
“I need to take time to address a health challenge which has arisen recently, and the House needs a Speaker who can devote the necessary time and energy to the office,” Ralston, R-Blue Ridge, said in a statement. “I love the House and want to see the honorable men and women who serve in it succeed. I will work the remainder of my term as Speaker to ensure a smooth transition for my successor.”
Ralston, an attorney, was elected to the House in 2002 and first elected as speaker in 2010. Ralston is running for reelection in the 7th House District and said he plans to serve as a representative if reelected on Tuesday.
“I appreciate the continued support of my friends and neighbors in Fannin, Gilmer, and Dawson counties,” Ralston said. “I intend to serve out the next term as their state representative and fulfill the duties they have entrusted to me.”
In a statement, Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp, a Republican, called Ralston “a steadfast leader for Georgia” and said the state “is better off thanks to his wisdom and commitment to all Georgians while guiding the House through challenging times.”
“While his service as Speaker is coming to a close, I know I will continue to ask my friend for his advice and counsel,” Kemp said in a statement on Twitter.
In 2019, Ralston drew criticism for using state law to delay criminal cases, including some for years, because of his legislative duties. At the time, some lawmakers, including Republicans, called on Ralston to resign, calls that he resisted.
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T.A DeFeo is a regular contributor to The Center Square.