Elections 2022Republican Wayne Christian Defeats Democrat Luke Warford in Railroad Commission Race

The Texas Railroad Commission chairman won his re-election bid by a comfortable 1.1 million votes.
November 9, 2022
The weirdest race in Texas this year had a conventional ending as Railroad Commissioner Wayne Christian defeated his challenger, Luke Warford.

“I am excited to serve a second term on the Texas Railroad Commission fighting for energy independence and the jobs, economic growth, and national security that come along with it,” Christian told The Texan in a statement on Tuesday night.

“We cannot allow Biden’s radical agenda, based on unproven, politicized science, to take root in Texas. We need more domestic oil and gas production to drive down the cost of gasoline and groceries and ensure the reliability of our grid.”

With nearly 90 percent reporting, Christian held a 1.1 million vote margin over Warford — reaching 16 points in difference.

Christian, who secured his second term on the commission Tuesday night, outlasted a crowded primary filled with wild accusations, bizarre antics, and a tragic death. He was pushed to a runoff by Sarah Stogner, who rocketed to national fame for releasing a get-out-the-vote video in which she rode an oil pumpjack nearly naked — a contest Christian won handily.

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Stogner then endorsed Warford in the runoff, who had the benefit of no primary opponent, allowing him to stash away his cash for the general election.

But all of that was not enough to topple the incumbent, and Christian will return to the agency that regulates the state’s oil and gas industry for another six-year term.

He returns to office as oil and gas production has slowed, a result of investment hesitance among the industry in the face of a harsher regulating posture set forth by the federal government.

The office is also tasked with capping certain orphaned oil and gas wells, a topic that became an issue in the campaign as Christian’s opponents alleged the commission wasn’t doing enough to address it.

Christian’s seat will be back up for election in 2028.

Update: Warford released the following statement conceding the race: “From the start of this campaign, we’ve made the case to Texans that we need drastic changes at the Texas Railroad Commission, and I’m proud of the work we’ve done to draw attention to this critical office. Winning statewide as a Democrat in Texas was always going to be an uphill battle, and unfortunately, we came up short of the votes necessary to win this election.”

“I congratulate Wayne Christian on his victory and hope he recognizes that there is an appetite for change at the Texas Railroad Commission. I want to thank my team, our countless supporters, and everyone I met on the campaign trail over the past year. The fight continues.”

Correction: A previous version of this story incorrectly identified the above concession statement to Wayne Christian. We regret the error.


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Brad Johnson

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.