Public Service Commission candidate disqualified, then reinstated

Before entering the District 2 Public Service Commission race, Patty Durand worked for information technology firms and led environmental and energy policy non-profits.

Credit: Greg Scott, Picturethis! Photogr

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Before entering the District 2 Public Service Commission race, Patty Durand worked for information technology firms and led environmental and energy policy non-profits.

Credit: Greg Scott, Picturethis! Photogr

A judge’s order issued Tuesday will keep Democrat Patty Durand in the race for now.

Patty Durand, a Democrat, will be allowed to remain in the race for the District 2 seat on the Public Service Commission for now after a judge’s last-minute ruling.

On Monday, Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger moved to disqualify Durand from the race, claiming the candidate did not meet the residency requirements to be eligible. But on Election Day, Fulton County Superior Court Judge Melynee Leftridge issued an order to let Durand stay in the race and have the votes she receives counted.

The judge’s order Tuesday is not the final say in the case, however, and it’s possible that Durand could still be disqualified. No date has been set for the court to make a final decision on Durand’s appeal.

PSC seats are voted on statewide, but the candidates must live in the district they are running in for 12 months prior to the general election. Newly redrawn maps for all five districts took effect on March 4.

In his decision to disqualify Durand, Raffensperger said she moved to Rockdale County inside the boundaries of the newly drawn District 2 earlier this year. However, Raffensperger said Durand will only have lived there for eight months by the time the general election is held on Nov. 8.

In response to questions about her residency, Durand called the residency requirement “unconstitutional.” She alleged the “GOP-controlled General Assembly gutted the old District 2 on the eve of the qualifying period in order to draw me out.”

The District 2 PSC seat is currently held by Tim Echols, a Republican, who is seeking his third six-year term on the commission. The other Democrat in the District 2 primary, Russell Edwards, is still on the ballot, despite announcing last month that he was suspending his campaign and throwing his support behind Durand.