Christian’s campaign on Wednesday released a statement from Cruz in which the Carrollton pastor called Christian’s conservative credentials “unmatched.”
“He has repeatedly shown a willingness to do what is right, even if the consequences could hurt him politically — including supporting my son, Ted Cruz, early on,” Cruz’s statement said. “This strong sense of character, coupled with practical regulatory experience will make Christian a dynamite Railroad Commissioner."
Christian, a former state representative from Center, is running against Ryan Sitton, an oil and gas engineer, in an increasingly contentious race to replace Barry Smitherman on the three-member commission.
The candidates agree on most issues, with both saying that Texas officials need to fight federal regulations and let the free market shape oil and gas production. But throughout the race they have traded accusations about ethics and questioned each other’s conservative credentials.
Though Christian, who led Sitton by 12 percentage points in the initial March balloting, has not received a formal endorsement from Senator Cruz, he has repeatedly tried to link his campaign to the Tea Party-backed icon. That includes reminding voters that Christian supported Cruz in the senator’s early days.
“Pastor Cruz’s testimony as a Christian and a Conservative has touched thousands of people across our nation, including myself,” said Christian said in a statement. “That he would release a public statement speaking so highly of me is truly an honor.”
Christian's endorsements include several Tea Party organizations, a group of state lawmakers, and former railroad commissioner Victor Carrillo.
Sitton, who touts his industry background, has recieved endorsements from Texas Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson, Railroad Commissioner Barry Smitherman, former commissioner Elizabeth Ames Jones and Becky Berger, who finished behind Christian and Sitton on primary day.
Since late February, Sitton has reported raising $1.36 million and has about $1.46 million in outstanding loans. More than $80,000 has flowed in over the past three days. Christian reported raising close to $208,000 during the time period. He has about $1 million in outstanding loans, according to Texas Ethics Commission filings.
Jared Craighead, Sitton's campaign manager, said the campaign's ongoing cash influx – most of it from oil and gas industry sources – signals strong support those who closely follow the commission's dealings.