Miller wins GOP nod for agriculture commissioner
Former state Rep. Sid Miller, who became a lobbyist after losing his Stephenville seat in the Texas House in 2012, beat his former colleague, former state Rep. Tommy Merritt of Longview, in the Republican primary runoff on Tuesday for Texas agriculture commissioner.
Miller was the author of a 2011 bill that requires any Texas woman to get a sonogram before she can have an abortion. He secured a key endorsement from Gov. Rick Perry.
Looking ahead to November, Miller took a first shot at his new opponent, Democrat Jim Hogan. “The biggest thing that will differentiate me and Jim Hogan is I’m going to go out and meet people and actually campaign,” Miller told the American-Statesman.
Kinky Friedman trounced in Democratic runoff
By a surprisingly wide margin, perennial candidate and comedian Kinky Friedman lost his bid Tuesday to be the Democratic nominee for agriculture commissioner to Cleburne-based rancher and insurance agent Jim Hogan.
Hogan had run a bare-bones campaign with minimal fundraising and campaigning. He beat Friedman in the March primary by only a single percentage point, which put them in a runoff election.
Friedman based his platform on legalizing marijuana and promoting the cultivation of hemp as an environmentally sound alternative to cotton. He was making his third run for office, having lost a bid for the Democratic nomination for agriculture commissioner in 2010 and an independent run for governor in 2006.
Sitton wins GOP runoff for railroad commission
Ryan Sitton, who founded the oil and gas engineering firm Pinnacle AIS, easily defeated former legislator Wayne Christian in Tuesday’s GOP runoff election for an open seat on the Texas Railroad Commission.
Sitton overcame a 12-percentage-point deficit in the March primary election.
“Voters look for experience doing the job they are hiring them to do,” Sitton told the Statesman. He said his industry experience was the key to winning.
With oversight of the nation’s No. 1 oil and gas industry, the commission regulates the largest array of pipelines in the U.S., sets natural gas rates and works to balance the production of energy and environmental concerns.
Longtime Congressman Hall loses to political novice
Longtime Republican U.S. Rep. Ralph Hall, who is the oldest member of the House of Representatives at 91 years old, lost to John Ratcliffe, a former U.S. attorney in a close primary runoff Tuesday.
Hall’s district stretches from the northern and eastern Dallas suburbs to the Louisiana and Oklahoma borders. Hall was first elected to the office in 1980 as a Democrat.