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Texas oil and gas regulator Wayne Christian wins GOP nomination to seek re-election

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Julia Reihs
/
KUT
Railroad Commissioner Wayne Christian speaks at the Texas State Republican Convention in 2018. He will seek re-election against his Democratic opponent in November 2022.

On Tuesday, Railroad Commission Chairman Wayne Christian secured the Republican Party nomination to seek another term as one of Texas’s top oil and gas regulators.

In winning the GOP primary runoff election, Christian fended off a surprise challenge from West Texas-based attorney Sarah Stogner. Stogner had run as a reformer, accusing Christian of being in the pocket of the industry, and highlighting a $100,000 campaign contribution he accepted from a company that he oversaw as a regulator.

But for Christian, a coziness with the oil and gas sector was not a liability. As commission chairman he has railed against federal environmental protections and climate proposals, blasted renewable energy and denied that industry failures contributed to the 2021 Texas blackout.

On the runoff campaign trail, he seemed as likely to take jabs at Democrats in Washington D.C. as he was at his GOP primary opponent.

“Fighting [the Biden Administration], I think is probably my preeminent job,” he said in an interview with San Angelo Live. “I need to defend Texas oil and gas.

Christian now moves on to face Democratic nominee Luke Warford in the general election as well as the Green Party’s Hunter Crow and the Libertian Party’s Jaime Díez.

Warford last worked as a staffer with the Texas State Democratic Party and ran unopposed in the party’s primary. Among other things, his campaign has focused on lax oversight by the Railroad Commission and the natural gas industry’s role in the 2021 blackout.

Mose Buchele focuses on energy and environmental reporting at KUT. Got a tip? Email him at mbuchele@kut.org. Follow him on Twitter @mosebuchele.
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