Wayne Christian, a Republican candidate for Texas railroad commissioner, is touting endorsements from several state leaders in education— even if the issue that has nothing to do with the office he seeks.
Two State Board of Education members, Barbara Cargill and Ken Mercer, and two former members, Charlie Garza and Randy Stevenson, endorsed the former state representative from Center, his campaign announced Tuesday.
Conservative education activists Donna Garner and Alice Linahan also endorsed Christian, adding their names to a list that includes nine state lawmakers, the group Young Conservatives of Texas and a slew of Tea Party groups and leaders.
As the state’s oil and gas regulator, the Railroad Commission does not dabble in education. Christian, however, weighed in on the topic, in an apparent effort to emphasize his conservative credentials (He has also discussed his anti-abortion stance.).
“I am proud to have stood in the trenches with these strong conservatives in the fight to ensure our children receive a quality education," he said in a statement. "With the threat of Common Core always looming over our head, the education community has an intimate understanding of the problems with federal overreach."
Christian added that he sees a parallel with federal energy policy.
“One size fits all education does not work and is an example of big government at its worst,” he said. “In the energy sector, the same can be said for the EPA, as it seeks to regulate oil, natural gas and coal out of existence.
Christian, who says his coming financial report will show $1.1 million in cash on hand, is not the first Railroad Commission candidate to wade into education policy. Last November, Becky Berger, an oil and gas geologist and one of Christian’s opponents in Republican primary, criticized an environmental science textbook up for review, muddling its path to final approval.
Berger and Christian face two other candidates in the March 4 primary: Ryan Sitton, an oil and gas engineer who lost a state House bid in 2012, and Malachi Boyuls, an oil and gas investor and former regulatory attorney.
Among Sitton’s endorsements: investing giant T. Boone Pickens, Chairman of BP Capital Management; Steve Hotze, founder of the Conservative Republicans of Texas; and leaders of several oil and gas producers, including Apache Oil, Brigadier Oil and Alamo Resources.
Boyuls’ endorsements include Cathie Adams, former chairman of the Republican Party of Texas; Bill Crocker, general counsel for the Republican National Committee; Ernest Angelo Jr. an oilman and former Midland mayor; and state Rep. Matt Krause, R-Fort Worth. Boyuls, along with Christian, has also been endorsed by Texas Right to Life.