You down with PSC?

Yeah, you know me. Or not.

Running against an incumbent for Public Service Commission presents certain challenges:

1. Nobody knows who you are.

2. Nobody knows what the PSC does.

On the bright side, considering its a down ballot statewide race, nobody knows who the incumbent is either. And they don’t know what he has or hasn’t done.

So, there are three options if you want the job:

1) Challenge the holder in the Republican primary.

2) Run as a Democrat and try and win the General.

3) Run as an Independent and try and win the General.

Option #1: Meet Pam Davidson! Challenging an incumbent in a state wide primary is tough, but cheaper than challenging in the general. You know who the voters are and you can probably mail a decent portion of them for not an insane amount of cash. And if you are Tea Party endorsed, as Miss Pam is, that’s a built in constituency that will probably vote in the R primary.

However, with your zero name recognition against an incumbent in the primary, you are starting with 0%. (Wait, first on the ballot by alphabet +10%!) And you might not want to introduce yourself to the world (or the percentage of the world that reads the AJC) like this:

Pam Davidson told the AJC in its 2008 voters’ guide that she had received a Bachelor of Science degree in organizational behavior from the University of San Francisco. Separately, documents submitted as sworn testimony to the PSC in 2003 stated Davidson received a master’s degree in public administration from the university. Neither document lists a year that she graduated.

University officials said Davidson attended the school but never earned any degree. Davidson said she had enough credits for a bachelor’s degree, but never received it. She said the sworn testimony in 2003 listing a master’s degree in her background information was a mistake made by a company she was consulting for at the time, which had filed the paperwork.  .

When asked how the company got the erroneous information, Davidson said, “I have no idea.”

Also this:

Davidson also did not initially report $16,334 in federal and state tax liens and judgments on a financial disclosure when she qualified to run for the state utility board.

That doesn’t look great if you want Tea Party support. And it doesn’t look good on a mail piece.

Let’s try option #2: Meet Steve Oppenheimer! Not, not this guy, we’re talking about this guy!

So, more expensive to run in the general, but as a Democrat you should at least start with 38% of the vote (but with Obama on the ballot probably mid 40’s! But don’t get in a runoff.)

So that looks to be a good route, high Dem turnout plus an anti-incumbent mood might get you 48%. What about the other 3%? Well, you either have to buy TV time at 450k per week, or send mail pieces to all the voters who consistently vote in the general but not in the primary. That’s a tough crowd and you will have to hit them a few times, so your job is to introduce yourself not to voters (who won’t pay attention to your race for months, if at all) but to funders. And thus an op-ed is a well-thought out approach.  Now to get people to publish it…

(you do have the advantage that your incumbent opponent doesn’t consider his 116K taxpayer funded position to be a full time job, unlike his fellow PSC commissioner)

and lastly #3. Meet David Staples! I know, I know, his website photo might make you think he is running for the Presidency of France, but he is challenging a Republican incumbent for PSC. So, ordinarily, a third party independent wouldn’t have much of a chance, but there is no Dem to suck off votes, which means you get to start with the 35%, and despite having a name that begins with S is first on the ballot with no chance of a runoff…hmmm.

We may have a winner.


  1. Three Jack says:

    It’s possible Pam had some erroneous info on her resume. If true, did that omission effect public policy or cost utility users a dime?

    It’s absolutely true that Stan Wise accepts gifts from those he regulates and regurlarly votes in favor of these companies with costs passed along to consumers.

    Seems simple enough to me, vote Pam Davidson for PSC!

    • Mike Stucka says:

      Are you actually suggesting voters should vote for a person they allegedly know is dishonest even before the election, rather than a person they allegedly know is dishonest after the election? What a country.

  2. ChuckEaton says:

    Just for clarification, I listed “Sales,” because I was an Account Executive for a manufacturing company before I became a Commissioner. I was thinking in terms of previous private sector occupation.

    My only current employment is with the State of Georgia – as it has been since I was sworn into office. This is required by law. (O.C.G.A. 46-2-1(a)). In hindsight, I should have just listed my occupation as Commissioner. I apologize for the confusion.

    • Sorry I didn’t get to meet you yesterday at the Alternative Fuel Vehicles Road Show. Looked like a pretty good turnout for what sounded to me like a short notice event. 🙂

  3. CobbGOPer says:

    I’ll vote for Pam regardless. I’m pretty much voting against all incumbents this year (at least, the ones with opposition. The un-opposed ones I guess I’ll have to write-in myself).

    And when she loses the primary, I’ll vote for David Staples in the general. Easy call.

  4. ZazaPachulia says:

    I prefer option #4: Spend a year or two as the fundraising lead for the most blindly-ambitious, delusional and smooth-talking gubernatorial candidate in recent history. Then, opportunistically become the first rat to leap from the sinking H.M.S. Oxendine, take an army of his teenage politics camp “volunteers” with you and use your fundraising connections and teens to campaign like crazy for a month or two (legally and illegally). Then roll through the GOP primary past several far more qualified candidates and smoke the Dem in the general election thanks to the R next to your name way on down the ballot. I think that is the easiest path to a cushy $116k annual salary (and the free wheels that come with it!).

  5. Ed says:

    I loved how the AJC published her stumbling quote of “honestly, honestly, honestly” that was pretty lol.

    • Calypso says:

      I was just on your website and noticed you are a Parkview grad. Go Broncos! (my kids are Brookwood grads:)

      Good luck in your race. You have my vote.

  6. GAGOPDAWG says:

    Did someone really ask if it matters when someone lies on the record?

    Of course it matters. First, setting aside integrity, it matters when someone falsely testifies in front of the very agency on which they are seeking to serve (

    The PSC is also required by law to base their decisions on evidence in the record. If that record is based on lies, bad public policy will invariably result.

    As for lobbyist dinners, business meals will always be a reality in both the private and public sectors. Appropriate limits make sense, and in fact, Political Insider reported this morning that Commissioner Wise has come out in support of the lobbyist gift cap. (

  7. GAGOPDAWG says:

    It’s hilarious that Pam Davidson is running on a platform of “ethics” when she has made her career as a lobbyist for special interests. What’s not quite as funny, but equally repulsive, is that she tried to hide the state and federal tax liens issued against her from Georgia voters. She only came clean after the press reached out to her for a comment.

    Most importantly, SHE LOBBIED FOR HIGHER UTILITY RATES SO HER BIOMASS CLIENT COULD PROFIT. Oh, and did I forget to mention how she stabbed the GAGOP in the back by endorsing an Obama Democrat after losing the Republican Primary in ’08? Some conservative…

Comments are closed.