Political Insider

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State Rep. Harry Geisinger, the state Capitol’s top horse-racing proponent, dies


State Rep. Harry Geisinger, R-Roswell. AJC file

We’re told that state Rep. Harry Geisinger of Roswell, 81, the state’s most prominent advocate of horse-racing in Georgia and an early Republican candidate for governor, has died after a long bout with leukemia.

Geisinger was a member of the inner corps of Republicans of the post-Goldwater period in Georgia, and was first elected to the House in 1968. He attempted a run in a multi-candidate Republican primary for governor in 1974, but was defeated – “Machine Gun” Ronnie Thompson, the mayor of Macon, was the GOP nominee that year. He lost to Democrat George Busbee.

Geisinger won re-election to the House in 2004, where he became an advocate for pari-mutuel wagering and the horse-racing industry. Despite his best efforts, he couldn’t persuade his Republican colleagues that attitudes toward gambling and the horses had changed in Georgia. H.B. 2 failed to make it to a House floor vote this year, though previous efforts had made it out of committee.

House Speaker David Ralston, R-Blue Ridge, has sent the following statement:

“Harry Geisinger was a great Georgian. Along with being a U.S. Navy veteran and devoted family man, he was a true public servant having first been sworn into the House in 1969. I always admired his tenacity, his integrity and his commitment to the folks he represented. I mourn the passing of my dear friend and offer my prayers for his family -- particularly his wife Pat.”

We've been presented with some funeral details:

Visitation will be held on Friday evening, May 8th from 6:00 – 8:00 PM at Northside Chapel. The funeral will also be Northside Chapel on Saturday, May 9th at 2:00 PM.

Northside Chapel is located at: 12050 Crabapple Road, Roswell, GA 30075. The telephone number is: 770.645.1414.

 


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About the Author

Jim Galloway is a three-decade veteran of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution who writes the Political Insider blog and column.