Chuck Eaton, Stan Wise win Republican primaries for Ga. Public Service Commission

 

ATLANTA — Republicans Stan Wise and Chuck Eaton fended off GOP challengers in Tuesday’s primary, winning a chance to keep their seats on Georgia’s Public Service Commission, which regulates gas, electric and telephone utilities.

Unofficial results showed that Wise, 60, of Marietta won roughly 57 percent of the vote against Pam Davidson, 49, an energy consultant from Douglasville. No Democrat qualified for the seat, so the winner of Tuesday’s primary will likely claim a six-year term on the commission. A Libertarian candidate, David Staples, 31, said he will attempt to qualify for the race Wednesday.

“We’ve made a commitment over the years of promising just a few things – reasonable rates, reliable generation and clearly we’re building an infrastructure for the future, whether it comes from increased natural gas infrastructure in the state or growing nuclear transmission for generations to come,” Wise said after he won.

The contest between Wise, who has served on the commission since 1995, and Davidson had at times been sharp. Davidson faulted Wise for being too lax on the companies he regulates and accepting campaign contributions from people affiliated with those companies.

Meanwhile, Davidson found herself on the defensive, answering questions about her education and personal finances.

Early results showed that Eaton, 43, of Atlanta took about 60 percent of the vote against Matt Reid, 56, an engineer from Decatur. Eaton was elected to the commission in 2006 and cited a recent reduction in the rates that Georgia Power charges its customers as proof of his financial stewardship.

“I think that my work to keep rates low and create jobs here in Georgia resonated with the voters, so we were obviously pleased with the results and I’m honored that the people of Georgia have chosen me as the Republican nominee,” Eaton said.

Reid had said he wanted to see less regulation from the commission and an increase in private sector competition.

Eaton will face Democrat Stephen Oppenheimer, who ran unopposed in the Democratic primary.

More