Warford was unopposed in the Democratic primary compared to the winner of the bizarre GOP race. Stogner, with the help of her notorious pumpjack video, narrowly pushed incumbent Wayne Christian to a runoff — a contest he won handily in May.
“I’m a lifelong Republican, but Wayne Christian has done such a poor job that I’m crossing the aisle to support Democrat Luke Warford for Railroad Commission,” Stogner said in a release. “Wayne Christian has proven he is not looking out for our economy or our environment. Our oil and gas industry is vital, and Texans need someone on the Texas Railroad Commission who is actually interested in doing the job in a transparent, responsible, and ethical manner.”
A campaign spokesman for Christian told The Texan, “For months, Sarah Stogner lied to voters about her party affiliation and political beliefs. Now that Republicans have rejected her radical agenda, it is no surprise she would support her party’s nominee.”
Warford said of the announcement, “I’m honored to have Sarah’s endorsement. Her campaign highlighted some of the most egregious challenges at the Texas Railroad Commission.”
“From emissions to the grid to the future of Texas energy, the Texas Railroad Commission has failed Texans, and I know they are ready to vote in new leadership in November.”
Stogner’s political history is unorthodox for a Republican; she’s called for stricter regulation of gun ownership, criticized the Texas Legislature’s ban on critical race theory in public schools, and derided the Texas Heartbeat Act.
But on issues that pertain to the office she sought, Stogner focused heavily on orphaned and uncapped oil wells that can leak pollutants into the surrounding area. During her unsuccessful run, Stogner received a $2 million in-kind television buy from a West Texas rancher who has pestered the commission over the issue.
“[J]ust saying the green New Deal is not the answer, and that climate change isn’t real, that’s not reality — we do have climate change,” Stogner told The Texan in a May interview, elucidating another ideological difference between her and many in the GOP.
After calling Christian “a criminal, full stop” and describing Warford as “pragmatic and pro-business,” Stogner said of the Democrat, “He has shown me that he will engage with subject matter experts to hold bad operators accountable and get out of the way of the good operators who are working to provide oil and natural gas as part of the energy expansion we need to keep the lights on and lower gas prices for Americans.”
This endorsement is not a shock, as Stogner has professed an “anyone but Christian” position on social media, including hosting Libertarian Party candidate for RRC Jaime Andrés Díez for his own nearly nude stint on the infamous pumpjack.
Stogner is one of a few Republicans this cycle that have thrown in behind Democratic candidates — all of whom either haven’t been in office in years, haven’t yet been in office ever, or are leaving office.
Democratic candidate for lieutenant governor Mike Collier has received most of those crossover endorsements from the likes of former Lt. Governor Bill Ratliff, former Speaker Joe Straus, former state Rep. Bennett Ratliff, and outgoing Tarrant County Judge Glen Whitley.
In a race that’s seen nudity, the tragic death of a candidate, that candidate finishing above last place, a heated runoff, and corruption allegations lobbed around like cafeteria grub in the Animal House food fight scene, this crossover endorsement is among the least shocking developments.
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Brad Johnson is a senior reporter for The Texan and an Ohio native who graduated from the University of Cincinnati in 2017. He is an avid sports fan who most enjoys watching his favorite teams continue their title drought throughout his cognizant lifetime. In his free time, you may find Brad quoting Monty Python productions and trying to calculate the airspeed velocity of an unladen swallow.