2022 Primary Election RESULTSStatewide NewsBoth Democratic and Republican Races for Texas Land Commissioner Head to Runoff Elections

Despite clear fundraising leaders in both parties, the Democratic and Republican races for land commissioner will go to runoff elections.
March 2, 2022
Despite clear fundraising leaders in both parties, the Democratic and Republican races for land commissioner will go to runoff elections.

On the Republican side, state Sen. Dawn Buckingham (R-Lakeway) took first place and outraised her competitors by a wide margin.

Buckingham also snagged some of the most coveted and influential endorsements in Texas Republican politics, including former president Donald Trump, Lt. Governor Dan Patrick, and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX).

Runner-up Tim Westley took 14.7 percent of the vote, a modest but solid lead over third place candidate Jon Spiers, who ended the night with 12.5 percent.

When he was chairman of the Texas GOP, Allen West appointed Westley historian of the party. Westley has been active in grassroots circles, notably including efforts to keep the Alamo cenotaph in place.

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The General Land Office (GLO) is responsible for overseeing land owned by the State of Texas, a task that includes preservation of the Gulf coastline, stewardship of the Alamo, and fiscal management of land leases — chiefly to oil and gas companies — to fund Texas public schools. The GLO also manages disaster recovery and several veteran services, including veterans’ homes, cemeteries, and property loans.

Buckingham and Westley both made the Alamo top priorities for their campaigns.

Westley, an Army veteran, said he would also prioritize building new veterans’ homes and cemeteries.

Buckingham used her record in the legislature to distinguish herself, saying she is the only candidate in the primary with experience in state agency budgets and the sunset process.

Outgoing Land Commissioner George P. Bush began building a wall on the state-owned portions of the southern border, a project both Buckingham and Westley said they would continue.

The Democratic primary frontrunner is San Antonio counselor Sandragrace Martinez, who gathered 32 percent of the vote. Martinez has consistently raised the least money out of all four Democratic candidates for land commissioner, reporting just $42 cash on hand in her most recent campaign finance report.

Especially compared to other races, Democratic voters spread their support between the other candidates fairly evenly. Jay Kleberg pulled in about 26 percent, Jinny Suh took 22 percent, and Michael Lange ended the night with 20.2 percent.

In addition to raising the most money in the primary, Kleberg boasts the endorsements of the most elected Democrats and hails from the Kleberg family of King Ranch fame.

Like every other statewide seat, the land commissioner’s office will likely stay Republican in the 2022 general election. Averaged over the last two general elections, 54 percent of the state voted Republican, according to official data aggregated in The Texan’s Texas Partisan Index.


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Isaiah Mitchell

Isaiah Mitchell is a reporter for The Texan, a Texas native, and a huge Allman Brothers fan. He graduated cum laude from Trinity University in 2020 with a degree in English. Isaiah loves playing music and football with his family.