The Texas railroad commissioner election is rarely an attention-grabbing race. But this year, incumbent Commissioner Wayne Christian will face oil and gas attorney Sarah Stogner in the May 24 runoff election.
Stogner gained notoriety and public attention by posing, mostly nude, atop an oil jack pump. She has since complained that the blowback from her public display of nudity amounts to “slut shaming” and ignores the issues she seeks to address, such as pollution and winterizing the natural gas system of the Texas power grid.
Three railroad commissioners serve staggered six-year terms, with one commissioner facing statewide re-election every two years. Wayne Christian, the current chairman of the three-commissioner board, has been accused of corruption due to a $100,000 political donation that followed his approval of a permit for an oil field waste dump facility.
Texas’ railroad commission was originally created to establish reasonable tariffs and prevent discriminatory railroad charges. Now, all railroad-related duties have been dispersed among other Texas agencies, and the Texas Railroad Commission is primarily charged with regulating the oil and gas industry in Texas.
Christian faced four Republican challengers in the primary, including Stogner; offshore risk engineer Dwayne Tipton; oil consultant Tom Slocum; and Marvin “Sarge” Summers, who was killed on the campaign trail when his vehicle collided with a tanker truck in Midland.
The final tally placed Christian with just over 47 percent of the vote; Stogner was his closest competitor, with 15 percent. Due to Christian’s failure to meet the 50 percent threshold required to avoid a runoff, he will face Stogner on May 24.