By a margin of 56 to 42 percent, Republican State Sen. Dawn Buckingham defeated Democrat conservation activist and film producer Jay Kleberg to become the next commissioner of the General Land Office in Tuesday’s election. Buckingham will replace outgoing commissioner George P. Bush, who lost his bid to become attorney general to Ken Paxton in the Republican primary runoff.
As the results became apparent, Buckingham issued a statement thanking her supporters.
I am immensely grateful to my family, my incredible campaign team, and the thousands of Texans who spoke with their friends and neighbors about the stakes of this race and what the General Land Office can do to protect the Texas we know and love.
— Dawn Buckingham (@DrBuckinghamTX) November 9, 2022
Compared to the other Republican candidates running for statewide office, Buckingham trailed Glenn Hegar and Sid Miller in total votes, but she garnered more support than Wayne Christian, Ken Paxton, Dan Patrick, and Greg Abbott.
Buckingham is a physician and business owner who was first elected to the Texas Senate in 2016, representing District 24 (northwest of Austin and San Antonio). She currently serves on the Administration, Finance, and Health and Human Services Committees as well as the Special Committee on Constitutional Issues. Prior to being elected to the Texas Senate, Buckingham was a board member of the Lake Travis Independent School District.
Buckingham was backed by former President Donald Trump and finished first in a large field of candidates during the Republican primary, handily beating Dr. Tim Westley in the subsequent runoff election.
The oldest state agency in Texas, the General Land Office is tasked with managing state lands for the purpose of generating revenue for the Permanent School Fund, which helps finance Texas public schools. It also provides home loans for Texas military veterans and oversees the preservation and maintenance of the Alamo in San Antonio.
Buckingham ran on a platform of promoting energy development, protecting the border, supporting veterans, and responding to natural disasters on the Texas Coast.
Kleberg’s campaign focused on prioritizing conservation efforts, reducing CO2 emissions, and increasing public school funding. He was previously the associate director of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation and has produced a number of films exploring the conservation of Texas’ natural resources.
In a series of tweets, Kleberg congratulated Buckingham on her victory while expressing disappointment in the results.
I offer my congratulations to Dawn Buckingham, and I hope she will find the courage to push through partisan politics and focus on helping Texans who desperately need the General Land Office to step up and do its job.
— Jay Kleberg (@jay4txland) November 9, 2022
Buckingham’s Senate seat will be filled by Pete Flores, who previously represented District 19 in southwest Texas.