Incumbent Wayne Christian defeated attorney Sarah Stogner in the May 24 Republican primary runoff for a seat on the Texas Railroad Commission. Based on unofficial results, Christian received 65% of the vote to Stogner’s 35%. In the March 1 primary, Christian received 47.1% of the vote and Stogner was second with 15.2%. Both candidates advanced to a runoff because no candidate received more than 50% of the vote.
Christian was originally elected to the commission in 2016, defeating Grady Yarbrough (D) 53% to 38%, for an open seat after David Porter did not seek re-election. He also served in the Texas House of Representatives from 1997 to 2013. His website listed endorsements from U.S. Sen Ted Cruz (R) and three members of Texas’ delegation to the U.S. House of Representatives. Christian’s website described him as a businessman and said, “Throughout his first term, Christian developed a strong record of fighting against frivolous regulations and standing strong for free markets and American Energy Dominance.”
Stogner said on her campaign website that she represented landowners, oil service companies, and oil and gas well operators for more than 15 years. She listed her top three priorities as “1. Putting Texans to work to provide clean, reliable, affordable energy; 2. Preventing federal intervention in Texas energy regulation (we can govern ourselves); 3. Helping establish global ESG (environmental, social, and governance) metrics and standards.” Dawayne Tipton (R), who received 11.5% of the vote in the March 1 primary and finished fifth, endorsed Stogner in the runoff on March 2.
After Christian and Stogner advanced to a runoff, Jeremy Blackman of the Houston Chronicle wrote, “Railroad Commission elections are usually sleepy affairs, but the agency has been gaining renewed attention for its role in last year’s deadly winter storm. Critics have pointed to commissioners’ close industry ties and loose oversight of pipeline operators and natural gas producers, which made billions during the freeze while gas power plants struggled to secure fuel.”
The commission does not regulate the railroad industry but instead oversees the oil and gas business in Texas. The Railroad Commission has three members who are elected to six-year staggered terms such that one commissioner is up for election every two years. Heading into the election, the other two members of the Texas Railroad Commission were Christi Craddick (R) and James Wright (R).
Christian will face Luke Warford (D) in the Nov. 8 general election. Warford was unopposed in the Democratic primary.