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Qualifying held for Ga. House District 7 special election
District 7 special election
Photo submitted to DCN. - photo by Julia Hansen

Five Republican candidates have qualified for the special election set for Jan. 3 to fill the seat of late Georgia House District 7 Rep. David Ralston, who died in November. 

This state house district covers northwestern Dawson and all of Fannin and Gilmer counties.

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The qualified candidates are: 

  • Johnny Chastain

  • Justin Heitman

  • Brian K. Pritchard

  • Sheree Ralston

  • Richie Stone

Sheree Ralston, the widow of the state representative, has qualified for the seat. She lives in the Blue Ridge area and is the Fannin County Development Authority’s Executive Director. 

Brian K. Pritchard of Cherry Log in Gilmer County has qualified. Pritchard works as a conservative radio talk show host and is CEO of media company FetchYourNews.

He currently faces accusations of voter fraud by the State Elections Board for which he has not been charged. 

Banker Johnny Chastain, who also serves on the Fannin County Development Authority, is running for the District 7 seat. 

U.S. Navy veteran and Gilmer County airport manager Justin Heitman has qualified, as has Gilmer County filmmaker Richie Stone. 

Advance absentee and in-person voting begins on Dec. 12. In-person advance voting will take place at Dawsonville’s central precinct from Dec. 12 to Dec. 30 between 8 a.m.-5 p.m. and on Saturday, Dec. 17 from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. 

Dawson County’s Board of Elections and Registration serves as the central precinct and is located at 96 Academy Avenue in Dawsonville. 

The elections office will be closed for the holidays from Dec. 23-26 and on Jan. 2.

On Election Day, Dawson County western precinct voters will have to cast their ballots at Fire Station no. 6, located at 2142 Hubbard Road.

A runoff, if needed, will be held on Jan. 31, 2023, according to a Georgia Secretary of State’s office press release. 

If you are unsure whether you live in Dawson’s western precinct, you can check the Secretary’s of State’s “My Voting Page” at or call the local elections office at (706) 344-3640.