Energy and Environment Reporting for Texas

Primary Results: Republican Railroad Commission Race Goes to Runoff

Pump jack in Pierce Junction oilfield south of downtown Houston

Dave Fehling/StateImpact Texas

Pump jack in Pierce Junction oilfield south of downtown Houston

A four-way primary race has narrowed to two. Former State Representative Wayne Christian will face off against Ryan Sitton to become the Republican nominee for an open seat on the Railroad Commission of Texas, the agency that regulates Texas oil and gas industry.

Christian and Sitton, an engineer who owns a consulting firm that works with oil and gas companies, have mostly campaigned on red-meat issues like criticizing the Obama administration and touting their conservative credentials, rather than rather than highlighting their positions on oil and gas regulation.

In the Democratic primary, Steve Brown, a former legislative aide, defeated Dale Henry, and will advance to the general election ballot for November. Brown is the only major party candidate so far to suggest that the Railroad Commission should do more to limit the recent surge in earthquakes in Texas linked to oil and gas disposal wells.

Brown and the eventual Republican nominee will be running for the seat currently held by Barry Smitherman, who did not run for re-election on the Commission to pursue an unsuccessful bid for State Attorney general.


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