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Meet The Democrats And Republicans In The Railroad Commission Runoffs

News Article Sponsored by Hotwell U.S.

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A jumbled 12-way race for a seat on a state agency that regulates the oil and natural gas industry has gotten a little more narrow.

Voters went to the polls on Super Tuesday, where more than 2 million Republicans and 1.4 million Democrats cast their ballots for the hotly contested Railroad Commission of Texas race.

Election Night ended with runoffs for both the Republicans and the Democrats.

On the Republican side, a crowded seven-way race ended with candidates Gary Gates and Wayne Christian as the top vote getters. Gates secured 28.35 percent of the vote while Christian got 19.75 percent.

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It was an upset in the three-way race for the Democratic Party nomination.

Former Texas State Representative Lon Burnam was favored by observers to win but in the end, the Fort Worth politician did not even make the runoff.

Instead, retired San Antonio schoolteacher Grady Yarbrough and former state employee Cody Garrett are the two facing each other in the Democratic Party runoff.

On Super Tuesday, Yarbrough secured 39.95 percent of the vote while Garrett received 35.15 percent of the ballot.

Republican Candidates

Gates is a successful Houston area businessman with a real estate empire that includes more than 4,000 apartments. Public records show that Gates loaned his campaign $2 million to pay for hundreds of thousands of radio ads, signs and digital media ads.

Gates has unsuccessfully run for Texas State Senator and Texas State Representative in races going as far back as 2002. If he wins, the Republican nomination and the general election, it will be the first time that Gates will hold public office.

By contrast, Christian is a former Texas state representative from the East Texas town of Center. During his time in the Legislature, Christian served on a House committee that oversaw energy issues and the Railroad Commission.

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Campaign finance records show that Christian has received monetary contributions from San Antonio billionaire Red McCombs, former state representative John Shields and Petro Waste Environmental CEO George Wommack.

Democrat Candidates

Yarbrough is a former educator who taught high school in San Antonio but retired in the East Texas town of Flint. Without a website or social media, Yarbrough kept a low profile in the Railroad Commission race until Super Tuesday.

Campaign finance records show that Yarbrough spent close to $16,000 of his own money to pay for “get out the vote” materials and robo-calls.

Yarbrough made headlines in 2012 when he became the Democratic party nominee for the U.S. Senate race where he lost to Ted Cruz.

Hailing from Austin, Garrett has an interesting career path that includes being a former proofreader at the Texas Legislative Council, a former employee of KEYE-TV and a former employee of the Internal Revenue Service.

Campaign finance records show that Garett raised nearly $4,800 in his personal campaign but has not touched a penny of it. The spending for his race has exclusively come from his political action committee, which is named 427 PAC but is better known as Texans for Cody Garrett.

If either Yarbrough or Garrett wins the nomination and the general election, it will be the first time that either of them holds public office.

Runoff Dates

Runoffs for both the Democrats and Republicans will take place on Tuesday, May 24.

The last day to register to vote for the runoffs is Monday, April 12th.

Early voting for the runoff will take place in a narrow five-day window between Monday, May 16 and Friday, May 20.

The winners of the runoffs will face Libertarian Mark Miller and Green Party candidate Marina Salinas in the general election in November.


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