- A review of public records shows groups associated with Southern Co. and its utility subsidiary Georgia Power have donated $40,000 to support the campaign of Georgia Public Service Commission member Tricia Pridemore, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports.
- Pridemore, a Republican, was appointed to the PSC by Gov. Nathan Deal, R, earlier this year, following the retirement of Chairman Stan Wise. Pridemore had announced her campaign before being appointed, and the utility-backed donation was also made before her appointment.
- Wise left the PSC in February, after steering the commission through the debate over whether to continue construction of Georgia Power's Vogtle nuclear plant. In December, regulators approved a cost increase for the project, allowing construction to continue.
Georgia PSC commissioners are chosen via an unusual system, where they must represent geographically diverse parts of the state but are still elected in a statewide process. Pridemore's incumbent status, despite holding the seat just three months when the primary takes place next week, will be an advantage.
Pridemore will face off against John Hitchens in the Republican primary for the fifth district. Hitchens campaign has raised just $5,400, the Journal-Constitution reports, compared with more than $220,000 raised by Pridemore's campaign.
The $40,000, campaign finance records show, came from "associates of Georgia Power, Southern Company and the law firm Troutman Sanders," the newspaper reported.
Pridemore was co-founder of Accucast — an online marketing software company, has a background in technology, and served on the Georgia World Congress Center's Board of Governors and Deal's 2011 transition team, and co-chaired both of Deal's inaugural committees in 2011 and 2015.
Hitchens' website says he has worked in the conservation field in programming, fundraising and advocacy, and currently volunteers with Trees Atlanta and Habitat for Humanity.
There are two seats on the PSC up for grabs, in Districts 3 and 5.
In the Democratic primary in the fifth, Dawn Randolph will face off against Doug Stoner. The Republican in the District 3 primary is incumbent Chuck Eaton, who has served on the PSC for more than a decade. Three Democrats, Lindy Miller, John Noel and Johnny White, will vie for the nomination in an attempt to unseat him.