The longest-serving Republican in the Georgia House is retiring and his wife is seeking to fill his old seat.

Rep. Earl Ehrhart, R-Powder Springs, announced Monday he will not seek re-election. Ehrhart was first elected in 1988.

“It has been an honor and a privilege to serve my neighbors in Cobb County and the people of Georgia for the last 30 years,” Ehrhart said. “I have always tried to do what I thought was best for my constituents by building a better economy, keeping us safe, improving public education, and promoting family values.”

Ehrhart’s leadership positions in the General Assembly have included House Republican whip, Rules Committee chairman, and chairman of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Higher Education. He also served as the national chairman of the American Legislative Exchange Council, the largest membership organization of state legislators in the nation.

House Speaker David Ralston, R-Blue Ridge, said Ehrhart will leave big shoes to fill.

“It’s a big loss not only for the Georgia House of Representatives, but for the State of Georgia,” Ralston said. “Along with legislative savvy, Earl has been a strong voice for conservative values, and his leadership will be missed.”

Ginny Ehrhart, Earl Ehrhart’s wife, announced her intention to run for her husband’s seat in a separate statement.

“My interest in protecting families and preserving our way of life has always motivated me, but my service until now has been directed to my family and within my own sphere of influence,” Ginny Ehrhart said. “I have always followed politics, and now I have the time and opportunity to make my service count for my neighbors in west Cobb and across the state. As a state representative, my goal is to impact the Legislature in a way that ensures the lives of all Georgians will be more positive, productive and prosperous. I will work hard under the Gold Dome to make this a reality.”

Ginny Ehrhart is a frequent speaker on regional and national television and radio. She was a chef and consultant for Family Net Television, authoring two cookbooks, Sunday in the South and Seasons in the South. She currently hosts the weekly lifestyle show, Southern Sisters Radio, in her studio located at The Battery overlooking SunTrust Park.

Earl Ehrhart said with the birth of his granddaughter, his life is changing, and he believes he can walk away from the Gold Dome proud of what he’s accomplished over the last three decades.

He said he talked to Ginny Ehrhart about his decision and his wife asked what he thought of her running for his seat.

“She’s more organized and research-oriented than I am so I said, ‘You know what? Awesome,’” he said.

Laughing, he joked that she told him she would run against him in the May primary if he didn’t step aside.

He said he plans to do some business consulting with Atlanta-based law firm Taylor English Duma after the session. But his work shaping public policy, he said, is far from over.

“I’m not going to be the face of it,” he said. “But I hope to serve on boards and do more with big organizations in Cobb County…I’m not leaving the public policy arena, that’s in my blood.”


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(1) comment

Johanna Williams

A pretty shrewd political move, made in an attempt to keep Ehrhart's seat in both the Republican column, as well as in the family, particularly in light of Ehrhart's far right extremist positions on transgender folks and the LGBT community. Moreover, this political contest will now be between two women, both running for Ehrhart's seat.

It would do the wise well to realize public opinion is shifting on transgender people and LGBT folks in general. I know, I am out on the streets in District 36 all the time, educating Cobb citizens about the transgender community and how some politicians delight in attacking us with hateful transphobic remarks. Winning hearts and minds over takes work, but we -are- winning! Cobb citizens are not hateful angry people and will listen to a well-reasoned discussion. Take note all ye politicians!

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