GOP Railroad Commission race gets personal in Texas

May 15, 2014

Ryan Sitton and Wayne Christian are facing off to become the GOP nominee for Railroad Commissioner.
Ryan Sitton and Wayne Christian are facing off to become the GOP nominee for Railroad Commissioner.
Credit StateImpact Texas

When there’s not much difference in policy, campaigns tend to get personal.  That’s exactly what’s happening in the Railroad Commission race in Texas.   (Just as a reminder, the Railroad Commission doesn't have anything to do with Texas railroads.  It regulates the oil and gas industry.)

Wayne Christian is a former state representative.  Ryan Sitton is a gas industry engineering consultant.  The GOP candidates are working to convince Republican voters they would be the better regulator. 

Policy isn’t distinguishing one hopeful from the other.  They both:  

  • are in favor of a relaxed regulatory environment
  • against EPA overreach
  • reject the idea that the recent increase in earthquakes are anything to do with the oil and gas boom, despite the scientific research that suggests it’s linked

Without ideas and ideals to set them apart, the only thing left to talk about is their personal background according to recent article from StateImpact Texas.    

Christian has raised ethical questions about Sitton’s current ownership of a firm that does business with oil and gas companies. It’s an ethical problem to try to regulate an industry you do business with, he says.

Sitton initially said he would stay at his firm if elected, but he’s backed away from that position.

Sitton counters that Christian’s voting record raises ethical questions.  He says Christian supported laws that benefited him personally and financially. 

As the runoff election gets closer, the sniping is becoming more heated.  More information can be found at StateImpact Texas.

The runoff election is May 27th.  Early voting is happening now through Friday, May 23.