Georgia House speaker warns of 2022 Republican electoral ‘bloodbath’

Georgia House Speaker David Ralston — one of the state’s most powerful politicians — warns that Georgia’s Republican Party is going to suffer a “bloodbath” in the 2022 elections if it re-litigates debunked 2020 election fraud allegations.

Ralston’s comments to WABE’s Rahul Bali came days after former U.S. Sen. David Perdue launched a primary challenge against Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp. Perdue also joined a lawsuit on Dec. 10 challenging the results of the 2020 election citing debunked claims of voter fraud. Several other GOP candidates for statewide office have made similar claims.

At some point Georgians are going to say “enough already,” Ralston said in an interview that focused on the upcoming session of the General Assembly, which starts Jan. 10.

Ralston is aware that the session will collide with the hotly contested 2022 election season.

“We’ve got important work to do,” he said. “Those of us in the House of Representatives are going to govern.”

Some of the issues he wants to focus on include the state budget, mental health and public safety, and not just in Atlanta.

WABE political reporter Rahul Bali interviews Georgia House Speaker David Ralston at the Georgia State Capitol on Dec. 10. PHOTO BY WABE

On the issue of whether to allow Buckhead residents to vote on breaking away from Atlanta, Ralston was non-committal but said he is worried about its effect statewide.

“Whichever direction we go, we’re going to be setting a precedent for the next issue like this and where it may come up,” he said. “So I think we have to be very careful and very deliberate and thoughtful. And I can tell you I’m analyzing both sides of the issue.”

Ralston and Atlanta Mayor-elect Andre Dickens have already spoken a couple of times since Dickens’ victory in the Nov. 30 runoff. Ralston said Dickens first called him before 8 a.m. the day after the election, which he said is a good sign.

“He seems to really make a priority out of having a positive working relationship with the General Assembly and I have committed to him that I feel the same way,” Ralston said.

The speaker also doesn’t believe the Georgia General Assembly should consider new abortion legislation until the U.S. Supreme Court rules on a major abortion case out of Mississippi, which is expected to be decided well after the legislative session.

Ralston also talked about legislation to give the Georgia Bureau of Investigation original jurisdiction over election investigations, his thoughts on constitutional carry and possibly using state funds for local law enforcement.

Ralston has been speaker of the Georgia House since 2010.