Editor's note: This story has been updated throughout.
Wayne Christian is suspending his bid for an open seat on the Texas Railroad Commission, but he is not terminating his campaign altogether, his campaign said Monday.
“As of right now, the campaign is just suspended,” Jordan Berry, Christian’s spokesman, said. “It is not terminated, it is just suspended.”
The reason for the pause is an illness in Christian’s family, Berry said, adding that Christian had no specific timelines for deciding whether to jump back in the race.
Berry's statement came hours after a source connected to the campaign told The Texas Tribune that Christian looked poised to stop campaigning for good.
“It’s pretty official,” that source said Monday morning. “I think he’s going to be out.”
Christian, a former state representative from Center, was a big name in the Republican race to replace Chairman David Porter, who dropped his re-election bid in a surprise announcement this month.
Christian was among several Republicans who filed last-minute applications to run after Porter decide to step away.
Even if Christian never resumes his campaign, his name will remain on the crowded Republican ballot, because the deadline to officially withdraw has already passed.
The remaining Republicans in the contest include: longtime Austin attorney and lobbyist John Greytok; Gary Gates, a wealthy real estate agent and cattle rancher in Richmond; Ron Hale, an engineer who lives in Cypress; Lance Christian, a Railroad Commission geologist in Austin; Weston Martinez, a Republican activist on the Texas Real Estate Commission; and Doug Jeffrey, a Vernon native who served in the U.S. Air Force.
On the Democratic side, former state Rep. Lon Burnam of Fort Worth will face Cody Garrett and Grady Yarbrough in the primary.
Last year, Wayne Christian lost a GOP primary runoff for another Railroad Commission seat to Ryan Sitton.
Wayne Christian could still influence the race — or win it — even if he ultimately chooses to resume his campaign. The deadline to withdraw his name from the ballot Dec. 15.
If he were to gain the support of most GOP primary voters without campaigning, it would not be the first time that a Texas primary candidate won in such circumstances.
In 2010, former state Sen. Kip Averitt of Waco, won the Republican primary for his Senate seat, even after leaving the race too late to take his name off the ballot. Averitt later withdrew his name from the general election ballot.