Ginny Ehrhart, wife of retiring state Rep. Earl Ehrhart, R-Powder Springs, defeated Tom Gray in Tuesday’s Republican runoff for her husband’s seat.

The radio talk show host and chef took 3,465 votes, or 51.4 percent compared to Gray’s 3,272 votes, or 48.6 percent, according to unofficial results.

Earl Ehrhart surprised many in March when he announced he was retiring after three decades in office and that, moreover, his wife would run to fill his seat.

Along the way, Ginny Ehrhart received the backing of some of Georgia’s heavy-hitting Republicans, including House Speaker David Ralston. Influential county leaders such as Sheriff Neil Warren and Cobb Solicitor Barry Morgan also backed her in the race.

Ginny Ehrhart said Tuesday she looked forward to representing the residents of her district, which she anticipates will be an around-the-clock job.

Despite winning the primary, Ginny Ehrhart hasn’t won her husband’s seat just yet. In November, she faces LGBT advocate Jen Slipakoff in the majority-red House District 36.

She credits her runoff victory, in part, to creating a detailed course of action and pitching it to voters.

“I have really specific, tangible solutions to some of the problems people are concerned about out here,” she said. “I think that’s how I differentiated myself in this race, rather than just speaking in generalizations.”

Gray, the senior pastor at Mars Hill Community Church, said he was proud of the way his team ran his campaign, acknowledging it was an uphill battle competing against an opponent with the name recognition Ginny Ehrhart has.

“If we win this, it’s got to be on the all-time epic upset list,” Gray said Tuesday as he rearranged his “campaign headquarters” back into his family’s dining room. “She’s outspent us more than 3 to 1.”

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