Thursday, December 10, 2015

TX Railroad Commission: Porter out, Patterson in (maybe); Naishtat retires from House

We haven't had any Lege business to blog about since the end of the regular session in the summer, so this filing news today, mostly broken by Harvey Kronberg's Quorum Report, reminds us that a lot of this shuffling is going to happen between now and next Monday's deadline.

-- First: RRC incumbent David Porter, a beancounter by trade and an industry flack by choice, finally realized the jig is up and is sliding out the back door.  He's got an unable and unworthy replacement considering a jump back onto the state's payroll.

Texas Railroad Commission Chairman David Porter on Thursday morning announced he is withdrawing from the race to serve another term at the state’s oil and gas regulator.

Moments after the announcement, former Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson told Quorum Report he is considering a run for the seat.

“This decision was not an easy one, but I feel that all the goals I set out to achieve were accomplished during my tenure,” Porter said. “Now is a good time to focus on my family and my return to the private sector. Effectively managing the agency as Chairman, updating Commission rules and regulations, and continuing the diligent work of the Eagle Ford Shale Task Force will be the top priorities for the remainder of my term,” he said.

Patterson told QR he is making calls and trying to figure out what kind of support he would have if he announced for the seat.

“My experience is deep and wide. I will be able to perform the duties of Railroad Commissioner on day one,” Patterson said.

Patterson was fourth out of four in the running for lieutenant governor in the spring of 2014, and threw barbs at Dan Patrick in the runoff.  He's always been known as a straight shooter, but this is the season of Trump for Texas Republicans, and Patterson hasn't demonstrated enough meanness in the recent past.  Porter already had two low-grade contenders -- see here -- for his seat.

Update: Current GOP state Rep. Jim Keffer and former state rep Wayne Christian -- who mounted a failed bid for the RRC two years ago -- are also reported to be in or close to getting in.

-- The strongest liberal Democrat in the Texas House pulls the chain.

State Rep. Elliott Naishtat won’t run for reelection after all.

After indicating last week that he wouldn’t run and then saying earlier this week that he would, the 70-year-old Austin Democrat said Thursday that he is withdrawing his name from the ballot.


Naishtat called several local Democrats who may be interested in his seat to tell them about his decision. Potential candidates include: political consultant Katie Naranjo, Austin school board President Gina Hinojosa and legislative aide Huey Rey Fischer. Austin City Council Member Ann Kitchen, who was rumored to be mulling a run, said Thursday she will not get in the race.

Naishtat had a minor health scare in the summer of 2014, so this may have figured into his back-and-forth about serving another two years at 70.  He wasn't one of those Texas House Dems who voted against Denton's fracking ban, nor has he endorsed a Republican for Houston city council.  He was always the guy who could be relied on as a progressive who voted his conscience over political expediency.  Like Lon Burnham, he'll be greatly missed in Austin.  Big shoes to fill for whichever of those challengers emerges from the primary.

Update: Naranjo is out, Fischer is in, and several more ins and outs from Harold Cook.

1 comment:

Gadfly said...

I'll let you know on Christian for the RRC, as he lives right here in Center, Texas.