After running for a third term as agricultural (ag) commissioner against Democrat challenger Susan Hays, Republican incumbent Sid Miller defeated his opponent.

The Stephenville Republican served in the Texas House for 10 years before entering the race for agricultural commissioner in 2014. In addition to winning his first election, Miller secured a second term in 2018. He joins fellow statewide Republicans Gov. Greg Abbott, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, and Attorney General Ken Paxton in winning a third straight term this election.

The ag commissioner leads the Texas Department of Agriculture and is responsible for promoting Texas’ agricultural products, regulating commercial weights and measures to protect consumers, and monitoring pesticide use across the state. The department also manages the National School Lunch and Breakfast program for Texas students.

During his first two terms, Miller increased the state’s agricultural exports and worked to include locally grown food in public school lunches. He also sued the Biden administration over a COVID-19 relief plan that he believed was discriminatory toward white ranchers and farmers.

Additionally, Miller routinely called out Gov. Greg Abbott for his inaction and held several press conferences challenging him to order more special sessions of the Texas Legislature to address property tax reform and banning child gender mutilation procedures.

This offensive push from Miller led to speculation that he would challenge Abbott for the governor’s seat. However, Miller announced his re-election campaign for agricultural commissioner in June 2021 and subsequently received an endorsement from former President Donald Trump.

In March 2022, Miller defeated his Republican primary challengers, former State Rep. James White (R–Hillister) and college professor Carey Counsil, which left him to face Democrat candidate Susan Hays in the general election.

Hays, a former lawyer from Brownwood, campaigned on expanding Medicaid and “solving the world’s climate crisis.” She also championed the “decriminalization, legalization, and expansion” of medical cannabis, a controversial view Miller also shared.

Earlier this year, Miller released an editorial calling on Texas officials to expand medical marijuana access. Currently, medical cannabis is only available to those with severe illnesses through Texas’ Compassionate Use Program in doses of less than 0.5 percent THC. Although Miller does not endorse legalizing recreational marijuana, he encouraged lawmakers to loosen the restrictions on medical marijuana.

“I am proud that Texas now has a compassionate use program,” said Miller. “It shows that our hearts and heads are already where they should be. But we must go further, much further, so that every Texan is free to seek and use this medicine lawfully and confidently.”

Hays also drew attention to Miller’s controversies, including accusations that he spent state funds on a personal trip to Oklahoma in 2016. A more recent incident occurred in January 2022, when his political aide was arrested on charges of commercial bribery and theft. Miller later terminated the aide’s position and denied involvement in the scheme.

However, Miller’s victory over Hays appears to show that voters across the state are still confident in his ability to advance Texans’ interests.

Katy Marshall

Katy graduated from Tarleton State University in 2021 after majoring in history and minoring in political science.