The challenge by Rep. David Ralston, R-Blue Ridge, had added intrigue to caucus elections that are usually mere formalities, particularly for a re-elected majority. The voting was done by secret ballot, and the margin of Richardson’s victory was not released.
Richardson, R-Hiram, acknowledged criticism that he sometimes rules with a heavy hand.
“I’ll be the first to tell you that I have made mistakes along the way,” he said. “But I’ll also tell you: I’ve learned along the way.”
Richardson did not, though, apologize for his often combative style.
“When you’re trying to get something done, you have to get out in front and lead,” he said.
Ralston suggested Richardson’s pledge to be more inclusive might not last.
“I don’t believe that good leadership is grounded in fear or intimidation or threat of retribution. ... We must choose today a path that is steady and certain and must remember that hope is not a plan,” he said.