Chastain wins race for former Speaker Ralston’s Georgia House seat

Sheree Ralston defeated in one of four special elections for General Assembly

Credit: Arvin Temkar/AJC

Credit: Arvin Temkar/AJC

North Georgia banker Johnny Chastain has defeated Sheree Ralston, the widow of former House Speaker David Ralston, in a runoff for the Georgia House, one of four special elections for the General Assembly on Tuesday.

Chastain, a Republican, won the seat that Republican David Ralston had held for 20 years before his death in November at age 68.

Sheree Ralston, also a Republican, fell short after had won the support of several current and former legislators, including $1,600 donated to her campaign by House Speaker Jon Burns and $3,000 from the campaign of her late husband. House District 7 includes the cities of Ellijay and Blue Ridge.

In a race for state Senate, state Rep. Sam Watson, a Republican from Moultrie, will take over the Senate District 11 seat previously held by state Sen. Dean Burke, who resigned to become the Department of Community Health’s chief medical officer. Watson defeated Democrat Mary Weaver-Anderson and Libertarian John Monds.

Only one candidate ran to succeed Watson in Tuesday’s special election. Republican Chas Cannon will represent House District 172 in South Georgia.

A runoff will be needed to decide who will replace Republican Danny Rampey, who withdrew from office after he was charged with stealing prescription narcotics from a retirement complex where he worked. Republican Holt Persinger will face Republican Charlie Chase in the campaign for House District 119 based in Barrow County northeast of Atlanta.