This isn’t a story about large utility interests pouring thousands of dollars into Georgia Public Service commissioners’ re-election campaigns.
That is because the money is coming from the solar industry this time.
Incumbents Doug Everett and Lauren “Bubba” McDonald have received more than $14,000 from individual solar companies, national and state solar industry groups, lobbyists, contractors, and associated attorneys, according to campaign disclosures from the Georgia Government Transparency and Campaign Finance Commission.
Some of those same companies and individuals also have donated more than $3,000 to two of the sitting commissioners who aren’t up for re-election right now, according to the agency, formerly known as the state ethics commission.
“Most members of the Georgia PSC have been incredibly thoughtful in their efforts to advance affordable solar energy to the benefit of consumers. I, along with many others, believe they deserve to continue their good work,” said Pete Corbett, president and chairman of the Georgia chapter of the Solar Energy Industries Association and an executive with First Century Energy and its subsidiary, SolAmerica Energy LLC.
Georgia’s PSC is one of just a few utility regulators that is elected. Its commissioners are used to environmental and consumer advocates criticizing them for receiving thousands in donations from executives, lobbyists and lawyers connected with the state’s major utilities, natural gas and telephone companies.
Some of those individuals have contributed to current campaign coffers, but this is the first time donations from the solar industry have figured so prominently.
“As solar technology becomes more and more affordable, Georgia has emerged as a national solar energy leader,” said Jason Rooks, a lobbyist for the Georgia SEIA. “The PSC’s thoughtful leadership on solar issues has allowed the free market to work for the consumer’s benefit, and just like any other individuals or organizations engaged in the political process, we want to support candidates that share our views. “
ATLANTA — The Republican primary race for the District 4 Public Service Commission seat is heating up after a final debate was held Tuesday night by the Atlanta Press Club.
Incumbent Lauren “Bubba” McDonald is squaring off against Hall County Commissioner Craig Lutz and Lavonia attorney Doug Kidd.
The commission regulates the rates and services of Georgia Power, natural gas providers and telecommunications businesses. The commission, however, does not regulate municipal utilities and electric membership corporations, such as Jackson EMC.
The 30-minute debate explored a variety of energy issues that directly impact consumers’ pocketbooks, including Georgia Power’s solar initiative, federal regulations and potential changes to the telecommunications industry.
The biggest point of contention, perhaps unsurprisingly, centered on how to keep energy prices low for Georgians, but the three candidates vying for the Republican nomination had different takes on how to ensure this.
For example, McDonald defended his support for requiring Georgia Power to commit to generating 525 megawatts of solar power. But Lutz said he believed this “mandate” would drive up power costs for most Georgians.
“Our solar initiative is not a mandate,” McDonald said, the first in a series of back-and-forth barbs between the two candidates.
Later, when candidates were allowed to ask their opponents a question and then provide a rebuttal, McDonald questioned why Lutz called the solar requirement a mandate.
Lutz said the commission’s own news release about the megawatt requirement on Georgia Power stated as much. McDonald responded that the requirement had been debated and supported by Georgia Power.
Meanwhile, Kidd addressed a regular target of conservatives’ scorn — the Environmental Protection Agency.
Despite new federal emissions standards, Kidd said he supported coal power largely because it remains one of the cheapest sources of energy readily available to Americans.
“Unfortunately, [the EPA] is regulating now in such a way that it’s detrimental to Georgians,” Kidd said. “… There’s not much the state can do about it.”
When Kidd got his turn to ask a question, he pointed it at McDonald, accusing the incumbent of taking too large a salary and working less than 50 percent of the time.
“That’s not fair to the taxpayers of this state,” Kidd said.
Lutz also took the opportunity to question McDonald’s positions, including his eager support for solar power.
“Things that hurt taxpayers in the long run [are] not something [the commission] should be advocating for,” Lutz said, adding that solar energy projects were costing more than they are saving.
The commission recently signed off on a Georgia Power rate hike, prompting Lutz and Kidd to question whether this move had essentially guaranteed profit margins for the power company.
A new poll of the Republican primary for U.S. Senate in Georgia shows former secretary of state Karen Handel moving into a statistical tie for first place with businessman David Perdue, inching ahead of congressman Jack Kingston. The poll found among likely voters, Perdue has 22 percent support, Handel has 21 percent, and Kingston has 17 percent. Additionally, congressmen Paul Broun and Phil Gingrey polled at 14 percent and 12 percent, respectively. Eleven percent say they are undecided.
The poll, conducted on behalf of Morris News and WAGA-TV, was conducted through automated phone calls and online and a 3.5 percent margin of error.
This is the best showing in a poll so far for Handel, who has suffered from poor fundraising but has received a boost from some high-profile endorsements, including from Sarah Palin, Jan Brewer, and Georgia-based talk-show host Erick Erickson. Perdue has led in every primary poll since February, and he still has a 5.3-point lead in the Real Clear Politics poll average. The south Georgia-based Kingston campaign, meanwhile, has been running ads in the Atlanta TV market and recently received the endorsement of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. While Kingston has been running a close second to Perdue, this is the first poll since February that shows him in third place.
ATLANTA | Karen Handel has ridden a wave of growing support to pass Jack Kingston in the GOP Senate primary race to take second place and come within the margin of error with frontrunner David Perdue, according to a poll released this morning for Morris News.
Handel, Georgia’s former secretary of state, has steadily gained in recent surveys as former Nike CEO Perdue has held the top spot. Kingston, a Savannah congressman, has enjoyed little benefit from major investments in television spots that most Republican observers describe as ineffective.
Physicians and congressmen Paul Broun of Athens and Phil Gingrey of Marietta remain rooted in fourth and fifth places, respectively.
Perdue has the support of 22 percent, Handel 21 and Kingston 17, with Broun at 14 and Gingrey 12. Three percent was split between underfunded newcomers Art Gardner and Derrick Grayson. Still, 11 percent can’t make up their minds at the start of early voting.
The poll also shows Nathan Deal easily winning the Republican gubernatorial nomination on May 20 with support from two of every three primary voters. Former Dalton Mayor David Pennington holds 11 percent of the support while State Superintendent of Schools John Barge has 4 percent and 19 percent remain undecided.
InsiderAdvantage conducted the survey by automated telephone calls and online with Opinionsavvy on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday on behalf of Morris News and Fox5 of Atlanta. Responses by 737 likely primary voters were then selected at random to yield a 3.5 percent margin of error. The pollsters weighted the results to reflect the age, race and gender of the expected turnout.
“Kingston has been losing metro-Atlanta female support with his ‘folksy’ TV ads for weeks. Handel, who usually does not poll as well with female voters is picking up significant female support and is starting to leave both David Perdue and Jack Kingston substantially behind with women,” said Matt Towery, InsiderAdvantage’s CEO.
Handel’s campaign credits endorsements from Sarah Palin and Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer, who have each stumped for her, as well as direct-mail and social-media messages targeted to long-time primary voters. Since Handel has always been outspent in all of her races, she’s had to be good at targeting in order to stretch her money.
“This is the third poll in a row showing Karen as the only candidate with momentum,” said Corry Bliss, Handel’s press secretary.
Pragmatic Republicans are seeing her as viable and a good matchup with Democrat Michelle Nunn in November, he said.
Kingston isn’t surrendering. He has a press event Friday in Atlanta with officials from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which has endorsed him. The business group has begun running its own ads supporting the congressman, which veteran political observers say is better than his own campaigns
Former Georgia Secretary of State Karen Handel (R) has crept ahead of Rep. Jack Kingston (R-Ga.) for second place in Georgia’s crowded Senate primary, according to a new poll.
Businessman David Perdue (R) still leads the field with 22 percent, but it’s Handel who’s now just behind him at 21 percent, with Kingston at 17 percent, according to the poll conducted for Atlanta’s Fox affiliate by InsiderAdvantage and Opinionsavvy. Rep. Paul Broun (R-Ga.) pulls 14 percent, and Rep. Phil Gingrey (R-Ga.) is at 12 percent. The top two vote-getters in the May 20 primary will move to the runoff.
Kingston released a poll of his own Thursday afternoon showing him in the lead with 20 percent support, with Perdue at 17 percent and Handel at 14 percent.
The poll’s methodology is unusual — it combines telephone and Internet samples. The survey of 737 likely GOP primary voters was conducted from April 27-29.
With less than three weeks until Georgia’s Republican Senate primary, Rep. Jack Kingston, R-Ga., released an internal poll Thursday that found him leading the crowded field.
Kingston led with 20 percent, followed by former Dollar General and Reebok CEO David Perdue with 17 percent, former Georgia Secretary of State Karen Handel with 14 percent, Rep. Phil Gingrey with 13 percent and Rep. Paul Broun with 8 percent. Twenty-eight percent of voters were undecided.
The primary is essentially a race to finish in the top two. If no candidate receives a majority of the primary vote, the two leading vote recipients will advance to a July 22 runoff. The winner is expected to face former Points of Light Foundation CEO Michelle Nunn in the general election for the seat of retiring GOP Sen. Saxby Chambliss.
The poll, conducted by McLaughlin & Associates, found that 43 percent of likely Republican primary voters had a favorable opinion of Kingston, compared to 12 percent with an unfavorable opinion. He had the highest favorables of the five candidates polled and the highest net positive rating.
The poll surveyed 400 likely Republican primary voters April 28-29 using live telephone interviews on both land lines and cell phones. It had a 4.9-point margin of error.
The poll was released Thursday afternoon shortly after a robo-poll found Kingston in third place, behind Perdue, at 22 percent, and Handel, at 21 percent. Kingston was at 17 percent. That poll was conducted by InsiderAdvantage for Morris News and Fox5.
Your Georgia Desk
From Governor Nathan Deal
Deal: Coyote MFG Co. to create 100 jobs in Berrien County
Local start-up to invest $2.5 million into Nashville facility that will manufacture boat parts
Gov. Nathan Deal announced today that Coyote MFG Co. will create 100 jobs over the next two years and invest $2.5 million into a manufacturing facility in Nashville.
“As governor, it has always been a priority of mine to make Georgia’s business climate the best in the nation and to create jobs for hard-working Georgians,” said Deal. “Entrepreneurs are increasingly choosing Georgia as their top location due to our highly skilled workforce, vast array of natural resources, strong infrastructure and pro-business environment. I’m proud that Coyote has chosen to expand here, as it shows the strength and vitality of Georgia’s start-ups and manufacturing industry.” Continue reading
Your Washington – GA 11 – Desk
From Bob Barr Congress
Barr Joins Call for Benghazi Probe
I support H. Res. 36, introduced by Congressman Frank Wolf (R – VA) to create a House Select Committee on Benghazi.
H. Res. 36 provides the legislative platform for the truth about what really occurred in Benghazi on September 11, 2012 through an investigation led by a single, bipartisan panel that can cut across jurisdictional barriers in Congress, hold public hearings and subpoena witnesses, including senior staff at the Defense Department, State Department, CIA and the White House.
Benghazi is a matter of national security. Continue reading
Days after her felony conviction Saturday on allegations that she lied to authorities and filed a false police report, Kelly Marlow resigned this morning from the Cherokee County Board of Education.
“Recent judicial determinations make it unlikely that I can effectively serve at any time in the foreseeable future,” she wrote in an emailed letter to State Superintendent John Barge, Gov. Nathan Deal, Cherokee school board members and the board’s attorney. “Rather than leave my seat in limbo while the issues surrounding my status are resolved, it is with an extremely heavy heart that I resign my position with the Cherokee School Board, effective immediately.”
Marlow and associates Robert Trim and Barbara Knowles, who were also found guilty Saturday night, alleged that Cherokee Superintendent Frank Petruzielo tried to hit them with his SUV after a contentious late-night school board meeting June 13, prosecutors said.
WASHINGTON (AP) – Senate Republicans derailed a Democratic drive Wednesday to raise the federal minimum wage, blocking a cornerstone of President Barack Obama’s economic plans and ensuring the issue will be a major feature of this fall’s congressional elections.
Facing the threat of a GOP Senate takeover, Democrats have forced votes on a procession of bills designed to amplify their message of economic fairness. Republican senators accused Democrats of playing politics by pushing a minimum wage measure designed to lure voters but too expensive for employers and sure to result in lost jobs and higher inflation.
“This is about trying to make this side of the aisle look bad and hard-hearted, and to try to rescue this midterm election,” said No. 2 Senate GOP leader John Cornyn of Texas.
The legislation by Sen. Tom Harkin of Iowa would increase the $7.25 hourly minimum wage for American workers in three steps until it reached $10.10 after 30 months, with annual increases for inflation afterward. The minimum has been at $7.25 since 2009, with 3.3 million Americans – including disproportionate numbers of women and younger people – earning that figure or less last year.