Former Democratic state Sen. Doug Stoner filed paperwork Friday to enter the race for a Public Service Commission post that will soon be vacant. He’ll likely face a top ally of Republican Gov. Nathan Deal for a spot on the five-member panel.
Stoner was long rumored to jump in the race to replace Stan Wise, who said this month in a letter to Deal that he will step down on Feb. 20. The Cobb County resident had previously announced he won’t be seeking re-election in 2018 after serving 23 years on the commission.
The governor has said he will likely tap Tricia Pridemore, a conservative activist and the former head of the state’s workforce agency, for the spot.
Stoner didn’t immediately return a call seeking comment.
Two Democrats have already announced challenges to Chuck Eaton, the only other incumbent on the five-member PSC whose term expires in 2018: Former state Rep. John Noel and business executive Lindy Miller.
Democrats hope to gain a foothold in the PSC, which regulates Georgia’s utilities, by highlighting the panel’s unanimous vote to allow construction to continue on two nuclear reactors at Georgia Power’s embattled Plant Vogtle despite billions of dollars in cost overruns.
Stoner plans to highlight his vote in the Senate that would have limited utilities from collecting fees for projects that extend beyond their initial completion date. He was also a co-sponsor of a state tax credit for renewable energy.
The supporters of the Vogtle extension, including Wise, argued that the decision came down to the state’s need for more diversity in energy sources and the long-term economic development benefits.