Republican former legislator Wayne Christian easily claims open seat on Railroad Commission

Former state legislator Wayne Christian claimed the open seat on the Railroad Commission of Texas after an easy victory on Tuesday night over three challengers. The Railroad Commission is arguably one of the most powerful agencies in Texas because it oversees regulation of the oil and gas industry.

Christian, a former representative known for championing ultra-conservative causes, was the favorite to win a position that hasn’t been claimed by a Democrat in two decades. He will replace the commission’s term-limited chair, David Porter, who did not seek reelection. Christian will join Commissioners Christi Craddick and Ryan Sitton in their duties overseeing all oil and gas companies operating in Texas.

Christian claimed more than 53 percent, or 3.4 million, of the state’s votes. Grady Yarbrough, the Democratic candidate claimed more than 38 percent, or 2.5 million votes. The Libertarian candidate, Mark Miller, claimed just over four percent, and the Green Party candidate, Martina Salinas, just over two percent.

Both Christian and Yarbrough were expected to benefit from straight-ticket voting, although Yarbrough raised no funds and was not considered to be a serious contender in the race.

Christian’s campaign raised nearly $300,000, most of which came from oil and gas interests, as in common with contributions to all of the commissioners’ campaigns.