Calhoun, Georgia — Unbeknownst to most Georgians, Speaker of the House David Ralston throws his weight around in elections all over the state.
And over the last two months, David Ralston and his legislative “team” funded a former Democrat candidate and former Gordon County Democrat Party Chairman, Jesse Vaughn, who lost in a runoff race to replace long time State Representative John Meadows, who passed away late last year.
More on that in a moment.
As state records show during the 2018 elections, Ralston spent and funneled huge money — tens of thousands of dollars — against conservative Republicans in Republican primaries that he could have used in 11 State House seats that were lost under his leadership.
The process works like this:
Ralston’s “people” will call, email or talk to other establishment Republican State Representatives like Terry England, Trey Kelley, Alan Powell, Matt Hatchett, Jay Powell, Bert Reeves, Bruce Williamson, Jon Burns, Richard Smith, and many others, and ask them to write checks from their campaign coffers to the candidate of Ralston’s choice.
Speaker Ralston will even cut a check himself from his campaign coffers to the candidate he wants to win.
This is what you think it is. It is paying money to candidates to buy their loyalty once safely in office. Just call it a loan. He expects something in return.
The Jesse Vaughn / Matt Barton race in Georgia House District 5 is where we see that happening in text book form.
Except this time, Ralston’s preferred candidate, former Democrat candidate for office and Democrat Party Chair, Jesse Vaughn, went down to defeat on election day — 55.1% to 44.9%.
The Times Free Press reports that “Vaughn ran for a state House seat in 2002 as a Democrat. He also served as the local Democratic Party chair and volunteered on Democrats’ campaigns.”
State records show Ralston cut two checks totaling $4,000 to Mr. Vaughn between the first election to replace Rep. Meadows and the run-off election which was held between Vaughn and Matt Barton because no candidate received 50% during the original election.
You can see the donations from Ralston and other establishment legislators into Vaughn’s campaign accounts:
Ralston’s disdain for conservatives — particularly Second Amendment supporters — is seeping out more than ever.
His loss in the House District 5 race to Matt Barton was a big one, because John Meadows was a yes man for Ralston, serving in a powerful position as Rules Chairman in the Georgia House.
It remains to be seen what becomes of Mr. Barton.
Because even though Ralston spent big to defeat him, he’ll invite him into his office along with his Chief of Staff and have a conversation about sticking together and being on the same team.
His blocking of constitutional legislation has riled conservatives who expected Republicans in the General Assembly to go on offense immediately after Governor Brian Kemp defeated Stacey Abrams last fall in a race that saw the Second Amendment issue front and center.
Ralston has put a halt to that, even going on Georgia Public Broadcasting and making comments that issues like religious liberty and the Second Amendment were “hurtful” to his liberal members in 2018.
If David Ralston truly felt that way, then why didn’t he spend all the money he’s spending against conservatives on those liberal seats he wished to protect?
One thing is for sure, history tells us when Republicans move to the middle and left, and ignore the issues their voters care about the most, Republican voters begin to abandon them.
David Ralston’s dream of Democrat voters crossing over and voting for Republicans in the 2020 General Election as a reward for his moderation is just that, a dream.