There's one statewide race this year, for Railroad Commissioner. The incumbent, Victor Carrillo, was appointed by Rick Perry to finish out Tony Garza's term. He's now facing opposition in the Republican primary, and the GOP establishment is going all out for him.
Presidential adviser Karen Hughes endorsed Railroad Commission Chairman Victor Carrillo on Friday in the GOP establishment's latest effort to give him a boost in a four-way primary election race.
In the primary, Carrillo faces Douglas G. Deffenbaugh of San Antonio, president of an oil and gas service company; retiree Robert Butler of Palestine; and K. Dale Henry, a Mullin engineer.
The winner will face Democrat Bob Scarborough of Fort Worth.
Hughes described Carrillo — a geologist, geophysicist, energy lawyer and former Abilene City Councilman and Taylor County judge — as "exceptionally well qualified for this job."
With the GOP working to attract Hispanic voters, Hughes also cast him as the party's future.
"The future of the party is reaching out to more Hispanic candidates, to women, to African Americans to diversify our party," she said. "The Hispanic community is a very important constituency."
Deffenbaugh responded, "I think the future of the Republican Party is staying true to our conservative ideals of less taxes and less government — and putting small oil and gas operators out of business is not staying true to our conservative values."
Deffenbaugh said such operators are hurt by a requirement for oil and gas well operators to have a bond to ensure they have the money to plug wells when they're done with them.
The requirement, aimed at ensuring wells aren't abandoned, is required in state law. The law is implemented by the commission.