On Friday, incumbent Railroad Commissioner Ryan Sitton took to Facebook to remind Texans he had made no endorsement in the runoff election between Gary Gates and conservative former lawmaker Wayne Christian.
“While I have tried to be helpful in explaining how I evaluate candidates and what I believe makes a good commissioner, I have not taken a formal position in the race,” said Sitton. “I trust the people of Texas to decide who is best qualified to serve the state in regulating one of our most vital industries, and I look forward to having a new colleague on the Texas Railroad Commission. Recently, a mailer was sent out that had a statement from me included in it. While those comments were mine, they were actually made two years ago when I was in my own campaign for Railroad Commissioner.”
Sitton’s remarks likely refer to a recent mailer issued by the Gates campaign containing a quote from the commissioner against Christian.
The quote—included in Gates’ mailer underneath a caption that reads: “People that Know Energy Know that Gary Gates is the Right Man for the Job of Railroad Commissioner,”—implies Sitton is endorsing Gates against Christian. However, that’s simply not the case.
As Sitton noted in his post, the quote was originally posted online during the Republican primary runoff of 2014 during Sitton’s own previous campaign against Christian. In the post, Sitton was asking for voters to vote for him—not Gates.
In the quote, Sitton says, “Texans deserve a Railroad Commissioner who has experience in energy and respects the free market.”
Meanwhile, Gates has virtually no “experience in energy”, but does have a strong belief in global warming. Rather than “respecting the free-market,” Gates’ own business relied on government backed loans from the City of Houston—and then defaulted on them.
A veteran of the political process after six unsuccessful campaigns for public office, it’s unsurprising that Gary Gates would believe previous remarks are ripe for recycling, but Texans deserve better than misleading campaign tactics.