Christi Craddick

Christi Leigh Craddick
Texas Railroad Commissioner
Assumed office
December 12, 2012
Governor Rick Perry
Greg Abbott
Preceded by H. S. "Buddy" Garcia (Interim)
Personal details
Born (1970-07-01) July 1, 1970
Midland, Texas, U.S.
Political party Republican
Relations Tom Craddick
Nadine Nayfa Craddick
Children Daughter Catherine
Alma mater University of Texas at Austin
University of Texas Law School
Occupation Lawyer

Christi Leigh Craddick (born July 1, 1970) is one of three members of the Texas Railroad Commission, the elected regulatory body over oil, natural gas, utilities, and surface mining first established in 1891. She is a Republican. The commission ended all controls over railroads in 2005 but is still known as the "Railroad Commission" for historical reasons.[1]

A native of Midland, Texas, Craddick won her seat in the general election held on November 6, 2012, in conjunction with the presidential contest.


Craddick's father is State Representative Tom Craddick, a Midland businessman who was the Speaker of the Texas House from 2003 to 2009. Her mother is the former Nadine Nayfa, of Lebanese descent and originally from Sweetwater in Nolan County in West Texas. She has a brother, Thomas Russell Craddick, Jr. (born 1973). Craddick has a daughter, Catherine. The Craddicks are Roman Catholic.[2]

Craddick graduated from Midland High School, obtained her undergraduate degree from the University of Texas at Austin, and received her Juris Doctor from the University of Texas School of Law.[3]

Election as Railroad Commissioner

Craddick's path to victory surged in the Republican runoff election held on July 31, 2012, when she easily defeated then State Representative Warren Chisum of Pampa in Gray County in the Texas Panhandle. Chisum is a former state legislative lieutenant of Tom Craddick. In that same election, most of the attention had focused not on the Craddick-Chisum race but on conservative Ted Cruz, who defeated Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst for the Republican nomination to succeed U.S. Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison. Craddick raised triple the campaign contributions of Chisum, more than $1 million compared to $375,000, but Chisum had access to another $600,000 that he had accumulated earlier as a legislator. Craddick enjoyed the support of such wealthy donors as the entrepreneur James R. Leininger of San Antonio and the late homebuilder Bob J. Perry of Houston.[4]

Craddick polled 589,211 votes (60 percent); Chisum, 396,858 ballots (40 percent).[5] Craddick thereafter defeated the Democratic nominee, Dale P. Henry (born 1930), a retired petroleum engineer from Lampasas in Central Texas.[6][7] Craddick polled 4,336,499 votes (56 percent); Henry, 3,057,733 (40 percent). The remaining 4 percent was cast for two minor-party candidates.[8]

Craddick fills the seat that Elizabeth Ames Jones of San Antonio vacated in February 2012. Jones ran for the District 25 seat in the Texas State Senate, which was ultimately won by the Republican physician Donna Campbell of New Braunfels, who unseated incumbent Senator Jeff Wentworth, a Moderate Republican from San Antonio, in the party runoff on July 31. Interim commissioner Buddy Garcia, an appointee of Governor Rick Perry,[9] stepped down several weeks after the 2012 general election, and Perry named Craddick to complete the few days remaining in Jones' term.[10]

Craddick's two Republican colleagues on the railroad commission were David J. Porter of Giddings in Lee County, formerly of Midland, and the outgoing chairman, Barry Smitherman, formerly of Houston. Smitherman, elected to a two-year unexpired term in 2012, did not seek a full six-year term in 2014; he instead ran for Texas attorney general to succeed Greg Abbott, but came in third place in the Republican primary.[11][12] Since 1995, when veteran Democratic member James E. Nugent was unseated by Charles R. Matthews, all railroad commissioners have been Republicans. Both Craddick and Porter have ties to the oil-rich Permian Basin of Midland/Odessa.[13]

Mark Jones, a political scientist at Rice University, attributed Craddick's victory over Chisum to the "respect" within the GOP for her father. Tom Craddick is the longest-serving Republican legislator in Austin, having first been elected in 1968. He lost the Speakership in 2009 to Joe Straus, a moderate Republican from San Antonio, who initially prevailed through a coalition of mostly Democrats and sixteen maverick Republicans.[13]

Former Midland Mayor Ernest Angelo, a one-time Texas Republican National Committeeman, said that Craddick succeeded because she gained credibility with large Republican donors and traveled by highway to meet with the conservative grassroots and women's groups. According to Angelo, Tom Craddick's neighbor of many years, Christi Craddick "showed she will do what it takes to win a state primary. She earned it."[13]

From the start of her term as commissioner, Craddick has been critical of federal intervention into the energy industries: "Texas knows how energy regulation is done. People ought to be modeling themselves after us, instead of ... the EPA," she told an energy policy group in Austin."[14]

As of August 2014, she was unanimously elected to sit as the Chairman of the Texas Railroad Commission.[15]

On March 16, 2018, seeking re-election, Craddick easily defeated Republican primary opponent Weston Martinez with 75.81% of the vote.[16] She will be opposed by Democrat Roman McAllen in the November 2018 general election.[17]

Electoral history

Texas Railroad Commissioner Republican Primary Election, 2012
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Christi Craddick 421,610 35.87
Republican Warren Chisum 320,052 27.23
Republican Becky Berger 140,752 11.98
Republican Joe Cotten 123,137 10.48
Republican Roland Sledge 116,122 9.88
Republican Beryl Burgess 53,553 4.56
Texas Railroad Commissioner Republican Primary Runoff Election, 2012
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Christi Craddick 592,860 59.81
Republican Warren Chisum 398,421 40.19
Texas Railroad Commissioner Election, 2012
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Christi Craddick 4,336,499 56.17
Democratic Dale Henry 3,057,733 39.60
Libertarian Vivekananda (Vik) Wall 173,001 2.24
Green Chris Kennedy 153,664 1.99
Texas Railroad Commissioner Republican Primary Election, 2018
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Christi Craddick 1,038,753 75.81
Republican Weston Martinez 331,317 24.18


  1. "Jason Cohen, "Is It Time to Call the Texas Railroad Commission What It Actually Is?" December 20, 2012". Retrieved August 7, 2013.
  2. "About Christi Craddick". Archived from the original on May 15, 2013. Retrieved August 7, 2013.
  3. "Christi Craddick". Retrieved December 31, 2012.
  4. "Enrique Rangel, "Chisum faces uphill battle for new seat"". Lubbock Avalanche-Journal, June 3, 2012. Retrieved June 3, 2012.
  5. "Republican runoff election results, July 31, 2012". Retrieved December 31, 2012.
  6. "Voter Guide". Archived from the original on December 2, 2013. Retrieved December 31, 2012.
  7. Henry had also lost two earlier races for the railroad commission, in 2006 to Republican Elizabeth Ames Jones and in the Democratic primary for that same office in 2008.
  8. "Texas general election returns, November 6, 2012". Archived from the original on January 9, 2014. Retrieved December 31, 2012.
  9. "Gov. Rick Perry has appointed H.S. Buddy Garcia of Austin to the Railroad Commission of Texas for a term to expire at the next general election". Texas Royalty Council, April 12, 2012. Archived from the original on March 16, 2014. Retrieved May 9, 2012.
  10. "Statement from Christi Craddick on her Appointment by Governor Perry to the Railroad Commission of Texas, December 12, 2012". Archived from the original on January 19, 2013. Retrieved December 31, 2012.
  11. "Reeve Hamilton, Smitherman to Announce Run for Attorney General, June 24, 2013". Retrieved August 7, 2013.
  12. "Republican primary election returns, March 4, 2014". Archived from the original on March 7, 2014. Retrieved March 6, 2014.
  13. 1 2 3 "Christi Craddick's ascension puts family in elite company, December 23, 2012". Retrieved December 31, 2012.
  14. "Beth Cortez-Neavel, "Anti-Federal Sentiment Dominates Discussion of Texas Oil and Gas Industry", January 10, 2013". Retrieved August 7, 2013.
  15. "Christi Craddick Elected Chairman of the Texas Railroad Commission, August 12, 2014". Retrieved August 12, 2014.
  16. [ 2018 Republican Party Primary Election: Election Night Returns]. Office of the Secretary of State. March 12, 2018.
  17. Schwartz, Jeremy. Christi Craddick wins railroad primary, will face Roman McAllen. American Statesman. March 6, 2018
Political offices
Preceded by
H. S. "Buddy" Garcia
Texas Railroad Commissioner
Succeeded by
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