Why David Ralston may have lost his taste for Pepsi

211103-ATLANTA-House Speaker David Ralston (R-Blue Ridge) speaks to journalists after the first day of the Legislative special session Wednesday, Nov. 3, 2021. Ben Gray for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution
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211103-ATLANTA-House Speaker David Ralston (R-Blue Ridge) speaks to journalists after the first day of the Legislative special session Wednesday, Nov. 3, 2021. Ben Gray for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Credit: Ben Gray

‘Redemption is always possible’

When House Speaker David Ralston wielded a Pepsi in Coca-Cola country during the closing hours of the last legislative session, he seemed to signal an impending war with corporate powers in Georgia over the state’s new voting law.

Ralston and other top GOP leaders were infuriated in April that Coke and Delta had joined the chorus of critics who blasted the state’s election rewrite. Back then, he suggested there would be payback: “You don’t feed a dog that bites your hand.”

Now, though, it seems that the rift has been healed.

“Redemption is always possible,” Ralston said Thursday. “There has been discussion over the last year and I think some people may now see the error in their ways.”

He added: “They just did what I asked them to do. I said, ‘Go read the damn bill. I’m not even going to argue with you. Read the bill.’”

An ongoing split could be costly for the corporate giants, and not just by risking lucrative tax incentives that legislators must approve. Both companies play key roles in major policy decisions and don’t want to be sidelined in their home state.

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Speaking of Speaker David Ralston, he is one of the few Georgia Republicans we’ve found willing to weigh in on the one-year anniversary of the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol.

“I’m disappointed by some in my party who can’t accept the fact that that was completely despicable criminal behavior. … What we ought to be doing is letting these investigations run their course,” he said.

He also warned Democrats not to politicize the breach, while voiced support for ongoing investigations into the riot.

The other prominent Republican voice from Georgia marking one year since the attack was U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, whose press event with Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz was just as chaotic and full of conspiracy theories as we’ve grown to expect.

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In a final bit of David Ralston news, the Speaker said Thursday Georgia lawmakers could put gambling to a referendum this year, the AJC’s Mark Niesse reports.

“Maybe it’s time that we asked the question of Georgians whether they want to expand gaming, and if they say yes, then we sit down and decide what form it will take, whether it’s going to be sports betting, whether you do horses or destination resorts,” the Blue Ridge Republican told reporters.

Insider’s note: This item was ripped from the Daily Jolt.

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