Craddick, Chisum to GOP runoff for railroad seat
May 29, 2012 at 12:29 a.m.
AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Attorney Christi Craddick and state Rep. Warren Chisum will head to a July runoff in the Republican race for a seat on the Texas Railroad Commission, which has nothing to do with trains but regulates oil and gas exploration statewide.
Craddick and Chisum, a Republican from Pampa, outpaced four other candidates, but neither could muster the necessary majority of the votes cast in Tuesday’s Texas primary to win outright. They were seeking the seat Elizabeth Aimes Jones vacated to run for state Senate.
The winner of the July runoff faces Democratic opponent Dale Henry in November’s general election.
Born in Midland, Craddick is an oil and gas attorney whose father is former Texas House Speaker Tom Craddick.
Chisum, who began his political career as a Democrat, has been a Texas lawmaker for more than 25 years. He switched parties and joined the GOP in 1994.
A total of six Republican candidates competed for the open seat in the three-member Texas Railroad Commission, but only five candidates were actively campaigning for the post: Craddick, Chisum, Roland Sledge, Becky Berger of Shulenberg and Beryl Burgess.
Sledge, a 35-year veteran of the oil and gas industry and a lawyer for VAALCO Energy Inc., made headlines when one of his campaign commercials — featuring a bathroom joke and a man getting shocked by an electric fence — went viral.
All the candidates campaigned against overregulation by the Environmental Protection Agency and said the Railroad Commission’s name should be changed to reflect its true duties.
In Place 2, Texas Railroad Commission Chairman Barry Smitherman led a field of four candidates in the Republican primary but was falling short of the majority needed to avert a runoff.
Smitherman was appointed to the commission by Texas Gov. Rick Perry last July, replacing Michael Williams. Smitherman is running to complete Williams’ original term, which expires in 2014.