The world of a Public Service Commissioner member in Georgia revolves around the energy and telecommunications industries, a constant back-and-forth between powerful utilities and the five-member panel charged with regulating them.
While the job is a partisan one, theirs is not a universe that delves deeply into social debates. Which is why it raised eyebrows when Republican incumbent Chuck Eaton bombarded conservative households – as well as a few Democratic ones – with a robo-call touting his stance on abortion amid an edgy runoff.
“I’ve always been pro-life, but as foster parents to 21-month-old Lily, I am thankful every day that her mother chose to have her and allow her to be adopted,” he says. “I’m proud to be endorsed by the Georgia Right to Life PAC for my position as the only pro-life conservative.”
Eaton faces Democrat Lindy Miller in the Dec. 4 vote, and his antsy allies poured $750,000 behind an independent expenditure to boost his campaign. Democrats, meanwhile, are hopeful they can leverage the low-turnout election to gain a foothold in statewide office.
Eaton’s pivot toward the topic is a naked effort to energize conservatives, even though he’ll have no role in any debate about abortion under the Gold Dome. Miller, for her part, has steered clear of social issues, focusing instead on increasing energy efficiency and improving the power grid.
But Eaton’s allies are quick to point out Miller’s endorsement from Emily’s List, the advocacy group that seeks to elect women who support abortion rights.
In a statement, Eaton said his “personal values” are as important to some voters as his record.
“That call wasn’t about talking points.It was about my life and my priorities,” he said. “I think voters care about that.”