Russell Edwards suspends campaign for Public Service Commission seat

Democrat Russell Edwards and son Teddy, 8, after he qualified to run for Public Service Commission on March 11. Edwards said Tuesday that we was suspending his campaign for the District 2 seat currently held by Tim Echols, a Republican.

Credit: file

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Democrat Russell Edwards and son Teddy, 8, after he qualified to run for Public Service Commission on March 11. Edwards said Tuesday that we was suspending his campaign for the District 2 seat currently held by Tim Echols, a Republican.

Credit: file

Edwards will remain on the ballot for the May 24 primary

Russell Edwards, a Democrat, said Tuesday that he is suspending his campaign for the District 2 seat on the Public Service Commission currently held by Tim Echols, a Republican.

Edwards’ name will still appear on ballots in the Democratic primary when early voting begins next week. However, Edwards said in an emailed statement that he was “proud” to throw his support behind his opponent in the primary, Patty Durand.

“She has the knowledge and experience to lead Georgia in an independent direction, free from the corrupting influence of companies she’ll be sworn to regulate in the best interest of the people,” Edwards said of Durand.

Edwards currently serves as a commissioner in the Athens-Clarke County unified government. In 2010, he ran for Georgia’s 10th Congressional District but lost in the general election to Republican Paul Broun.

Durand did not comment on the suspension of Edwards’ campaign.

The move leaves Durand as the likely Democratic nominee to face Echols in the general election this fall. Echols is seeking his third six-year term on the commission.

Seats on the Public Service Commission are voted on statewide, but the candidates must live in the district he or she is representing. In the case of District 2, that’s much of eastern Georgia.

The Public Service Commission is a somewhat obscure state regulatory body, but its five members play a key role in deciding where much of the energy used in Georgia comes from and how much customers pay for it. Most notably, the PSC is tasked with regulating Georgia Power — the state’s largest electric utility, with nearly 2.7 million residential and commercial customers.