In Tuesday’s election, Railroad Commission of Texas (RRC) Chairman Barry Smitherman, a Republican, retained his seat, and Republican Christi Craddick was picked by voters over Democratic challenger Dale Henry.

Smitherman did not face a Democratic challenger. He was appointed to the RRC in July 2011 (see Daily GPI, July 11, 2011). A staunch conservative, Smitherman has been a vocal critic of the energy and regulatory policies of the Obama administration, particularly those of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, with which the RRC has clashed over air emissions rules and alleged water contamination by drillers.

Smitherman, who was elected RRC chairman earlier this year (see Daily GPI, Feb. 29), was opposed by Libertarian candidate Jaime O. Perez and Green Party candidate Josh Wendel.

Craddick, an attorney and the daughter of former Texas House Speaker Tom Craddick, grew up in Midland, TX, and has worked in oil and gas law. She will fill the seat being vacated by Buddy Garcia, who was appointed earlier this year to fill the position after it was vacated by Republican Elizabeth Ames Jones, who resigned to campaign for the Texas Senate (see Daily GPI, April 16; Feb. 15). Jones lost her bid for the Senate in the primary election.

Craddick had been widely expected to defeat Henry and apparently shares Smitherman’s dislike of Washington.

“Help me stand up to Washington bureaucrats and legislators by supporting my candidacy with your vote,” Craddick said on her campaign website. “And help send reinforcements by supporting the entire Republican ticket. Together, we can fight for Texas jobs.”

Despite its name, the RRC has nothing to do with railroads and everything to do with oil and gas in Texas. During their upcoming legislative session, state lawmakers are expected to make another pass at legislation to change the name of the RRC to something that will reflect its actual function.

©Copyright 2012Intelligence Press Inc. All rights reserved. The preceding news reportmay not be republished or redistributed, in whole or in part, in anyform, without prior written consent of Intelligence Press, Inc.