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Ralston overcomes challenge in primary
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House Speaker David Ralston held on to his 7th District seat in the Georgia General Assembly by defeating challenger Sam Snider in last week's primary.

The veteran lawmaker secured 65 percent to Snider's 35 percent of the overall vote in Dawson, Fannin and Gilmer counties, which make up the 7th District.

"From the bottom of my heart, I want to say ‘thank you' to my friends and neighbors, the people of Fannin, Gilmer and Dawson counties, for their confidence and support," Ralston said. "I am honored beyond measure, and I proudly accept the Republican nomination for State Representative from the 7th District."

There were no Democrats running for the seat, which Ralston has held since 2002. He was elected Speaker of the House in January 2010.

"Tonight, we will enjoy this sweet victory. We will draw encouragement from the judgment of the people of this district," he said.

Ralston drew 70.93 percent of the 7th District's 526 votes cast in Dawson County to Snider's 29.07 percent.

According to election officials, there are 1,722 registered voters in Dawson County's portion of the district, which spans west from the Emma community at Crane Road on Hwy. 136 and Afton Road on Elliott Family Parkway.

"For tomorrow, the work begins anew. The people have spoken and now it is time to get back to the business of creating jobs, cutting taxes, cutting red tape, lifting up educational opportunities and doing all we can do to make sure that this remains the best place in the best state in the best nation on earth," he said.

In a message to his supporters on Thursday, Snider, a high school educator and coach from Fannin County, thanked those who stood behind him and vowed to continue to watch the goings on at the state level.