Energy and Environment Reporting for Texas

Primary Results: Two Railroad Commission Races Headed For a Runoff

Photo courtesy of RRC

Barry Smitherman, Chairman of the Railroad Commission of Texas

It would be a stretch to say it was a nail-biter, but two races for the Railroad Commission are headed for a runoff on July 31.

To take a primary in Texas, you must get fifty percent plus one vote, and in the Republican Primary races for two seats on the Railroad Commission, no candidate made those numbers. (The Railroad Commission of Texas is the state agency that regulates oil and gas drilling and pipelines in the state. It has nothing to do with Railroads.)

Incumbent commissioner Barry Smitherman took 44 percent of the vote in his primary race, with roughly 28 percent going to his challenger, Greg Parker. Whoever wins that runoff in July (which will likely be Smitherman) will not have a Democratic challenger this November in the general election.

The race for the open seat on the commission will be a runoff between Christi Craddick and Warren Chisum. Craddick got roughly 36 percent of the vote, while Chisum won around 27 percent. Whoever wins that runoff will face Democratic challenger Dale Henry this fall.

Alas, Houston Attorney Roland Sledge got less than ten percent of the vote, behind four others in the race, meaning we won’t have any more ads like these:

And two ex-Railroad Commissioners were running for other offices in last night’s primary, and both failed to make the cut.

Former commission chairperson Elizabeth Ames Jones came in third in the race for Jeff Wentworth’s seat in state senate district 25, getting a little over thirty percent of the vote, so she’s out of that race. Wentworth will face off with Tea Party candidate Donna Campbell, who came in second, in July. The interesting part of this race is that Ames Jones outspent Campbell by a large margin. According to data compiled by the Texas Tribune earlier this month, a Super PAC supporting Ames Jones had spent nearly $1.5 million on her campaign, more than any other candidate running for state office in the primary. Campbell? At the time of the filing, her campaign had spent only $40,000.

Another ex-commissioner, Michael Williams, also lost his race. He got only around ten percent of the vote in a crowded race for the U.S. Congressional seat in District 25.

The runoff will be held July 31, just in time for the peak heat of summer, and with plenty of voters likely to be away on vacation.


About StateImpact

StateImpact seeks to inform and engage local communities with broadcast and online news focused on how state government decisions affect your lives.
Learn More »