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Two Railroad Commission Hopefuls Report $1 Million Loans

Two candidates for railroad commissioner — Ryan Sitton and Wayne Christian — have taken out million-dollar loans, according to the latest filings.

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Republican candidates for Texas railroad commissioner are flush with cash — eye-popping amounts — but they will have plenty to pay back when the sun sets on the race.

This week, two candidates reported more than $1 million in cash on hand, with both taking out million-dollar loans.

Ryan Sitton, whose account is the richest, has nearly $1.28 million to spend. That includes a loan of $1 million made on Dec. 31, the last day of the reporting period. The oil and gas engineer reported raising more than $348,000 over the period, which stretches back to July.

Former state Rep. Wayne Christian, R-Center, reported nearly $1.1 million in his account — aided by a zero-interest $1 million loan from his hometown mayor, David Chadwick, who is also president of the local Farmers State Bank. That loan was issued one day before Sitton's.  Christian raised more than $173,000 during the latest period.

Meanwhile, oil and gas investor Malachi Boyuls, has far less cash on hand — close to $469,000 — but he has raised about $387,000 since July, the most of any candidate in the race. He has $132,500 in outstanding loans (Those numbers come from his specific-purpose political action committee, or SPAC. Boyuls’ candidate filing shows no money raised or taken out in loans.)

Becky Berger, the other challenger for Barry Smitherman’s seat, has a little more than $24,000 to spend, with most in her SPAC account. The oil and gas geologist reported raising about $44,000. She has $8,000 in outstanding loans.

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