Richardson faces gutsy challenge in party

ATLANTA - House Speaker Glenn Richardson opened the last two legislative sessions with calls for unity and ended them with scathing attacks against leaders of his own Republican Party.

Now a group of frustrated Republicans led by state Rep. David Ralston are challenging the House leader, launching an ouster attempt that promises to bring a more cooperative tone to the 180-member chamber.

'The people of Georgia are wanting us to work together and get some things done,' said Ralston, an attorney from Blue Ridge. 'With the current climate we have, that's going to be extremely tough to do. I think we have an opportunity to do that.'

It's a gutsy attempt to oust Richardson, who was elected the first Republican leader of the chamber since Reconstruction.

Richardson's office said in a statement that the speaker was 'focused on the job he was elected to do,' while his supporters lashed out at the insurgency.

'He has no chance,' state Rep. Austin Scott, R-Tifton, said of Ralston. 'Glenn's the man who took us into power. He was our leader when we came out of the wilderness.'