Chris “Chip” Beeker Jr. has ousted incumbent Terry Dunn for the Place 2 Public Service Commission.
Beeker appeared to have a substantial lead over Dunn as the the final precincts were being counted late Tuesday night.
Attempts to reach Beeker and Dunn were unsuccessful. Beeker’s son, Chris, sent a statement via text on behalf of Chip.
“This election was a referendum on the liberal environmentalists who are trying to invade our state and a win for Alabama consumers,” the statement read.
Beeker was finally able to secure a spot on the commission after losing a 2010 bid for the Republican nomination against Twinkle Andress Cavanaugh, the commission’s current president. Beeker is the former Greene County chairman and owner of Beeker Catfish and Cattle Farms in Eutaw.
The race between Dunn and his opponents was an unusually heated one for the PSC, which typically doesn’t generate much publicity. Over the four years of his term, Dunn called for formal hearings on the rates charged by Alabama Power and other utilities, something the commission has rarely done.
Dunn is a resident of Southside in Etowah County and owns Dunn Development Corporation and Dunn Investment Group.
The PSC did hold informal hearings, and Dunn encountered fierce opposition from advocates of the coal industry, who claimed the hearings were connected to an effort to reduce the use of coal.
Dunn denied those claims. But in the Republican primary, three challengers lined up to campaign against him. Beeker and Dunn landed in the runoff when none of the candidates garnered more than 50 percent of the vote.
“I guess I was naive in thinking that I could ask questions and continue to have support,” Dunn told the Star in an earlier interview.