Republican lawmaker who clashed with GOP leaders won’t seek reelection

State Rep. David Clark, R-Buford, said he won't seek reelection next year.

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State Rep. David Clark, R-Buford, said he won't seek reelection next year.

A Georgia lawmaker who repeatedly clashed with leaders of his own Republican Party in the state House announced Tuesday that he will not seek reelection.

State Rep. David Clark, R-Buford, has served his Gwinnett County district since 2015. He tweeted his decision not to run again and sent a statement to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, citing a belief that “politics is not meant to be a career.”

“It is time for me to allow someone else to serve, be a voice and fight to preserve our community,” he said.

Clark has been a thorn in the side of House Speaker David Ralston in recent years. In 2019, he led a group of Republicans who asked the speaker to step down after an investigation by the AJC and Channel 2 Action News found that Ralston — a lawyer — frequently delayed criminal cases by claiming court dates interfered with his legislative duties.

Last year, Clark ran for Ralston’s job, losing by a vote of 90-2 in the Republican caucus. At the time, he called Ralston a “dictator and not a leader.”

Most recently, Clark gained attention for refusing to be tested for COVID-19, as required of all House members during this year’s legislative session. Ralston had Clark removed from the House chamber for refusing the test. Clark agreed to be tested two days later.

Given his poor relationship with Ralston, Clark stood a good chance of being drawn out of his district when the General Assembly meets to establish new legislative district boundaries later this year.

When asked for comment on Clark’s announcement, Ralston spokesman Kaleb McMichen responded, “Who?”

Clark struck a defiant tone in Tuesday’s statement. He said he will continue “being a voice for the voiceless by holding the powerful accountable and continuing to call out corruption.” And he thanked his wife “for having my back in the midst of the ugly political times, and for supporting me when I stood up to the establishment based on my principles instead of settling for backroom deals.”

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