Texas Railroad Commission Chairman Wayne Christian will now face Democrat Luke Warford, along with Green and Libertarian contenders, in the November general election. The Associated Press declared Christian the victor with 66.8% support and more than half the votes counted.
Christian faced an aggressive challenge by oil and natural gas attorney Sarah Stogner, who sought to portray the incumbent as beholden to energy-industry interests and anathema to robust regulation.
The commissioners, whose mandate to oversee the oil industry trace back to the early days of Texas wildcatting a century ago, have been under fire from some quarters for failing to prevent the catastrophic February 2021 failure of the state’s electricity grid.
More than 200 died in the disaster that darkened and paralyzed the second-largest US state for the better part of a week.
The panel, which OPEC took as its model during its 1960 founding, has at times wielded considerable power over global energy markets through its ability to control the flow of Texas crude.
As recently as 2020 the panel considered — and ultimately rejected — rationing output after a worldwide glut and pandemic-driven demand crash triggered an unprecedented collapse in oil prices.