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Primary, Runoff Election Results Show Possible Impact on Energy Sector

Primary elections for the 2022 midterm Congressional races are in full swing across the country. This past Tuesday, Texas held its runoff elections for candidates that failed to secure the required 50% of votes in the March 1 primary election. 

This month also brought primary elections in Ohio and Pennsylvania, states that are home to vast energy resources and many Energy Workforce Member Company operations. As the winning candidates turn to the November general election, energy policy is sure to be an issue of top concern for their campaigns. The Council has been tracking the results of these races and their potential impacts on Council Member Companies and the industry as a whole.

Texas Run Off Elections

Attorney General

Incumbent Attorney General Ken Paxton and Land Commissioner George P. Bush battled in one of the most heated races of the primary, and ultimately Paxton came out victorious on Tuesday. Both candidates are allies to the energy industry and have strong records of accomplishment when it comes to fighting regulations against the industry. 

The Attorney General has the authority to file lawsuits on behalf of the State of Texas, like the ones led by Paxton this past year to counter many of the federal regulations on the oil and gas industry. Bush has also been a close ally to the energy services sector, visiting Energy Workforce Member Company Odessa Pumps in Midland in 2021. Paxton will face Rochelle Garza, who earned the Democratic nomination outright in the March primary election.

Railroad Commissioner

Incumbent Railroad Commissioner Wayne Christian faced newcomer Sarah Stogner for perhaps the most consequential position for the energy industry in Texas. The Railroad Commission is charged with regulating the oil and gas industry at the state level, and the person that fills this seat will have extraordinary influence over oil and gas operations in Texas. Christian secured the nomination for this seat and will face Luke Warford, who ran unopposed for the Democratic nomination, in November. 

U.S. House District 28

Incumbent Congressman Henry Cuellar faced Jessica Cisneros, an immigration and human rights attorney, for the Democratic nomination for the U.S. House District 28. The runoff election was close, with Cuellar leading by a little over 150 votes at time of publication. This race is likely to go to a recount, so results may not be officially known for several weeks. The winner of this race will face Cassy Garcia, who also faced a May runoff battle for the Republican nomination. 

Ohio Primary Elections

On May 3, Ohio held its primary election, which included contested races for Governor and U.S. Senate. Incumbent Gov. Mike DeWine faced three Republican challengers, including former Congressman Jim Renacci. DeWine came out on top with 48% of the votes. He will face the Democratic nominee, former Mayor of Dayton Nan Whaley, in the general election. 

The battle for the Republican nomination to replace retiring Sen. Rob Portman turned into one of the most contentious races of the year. Businessman and author J.D. Vance secured the nomination for the Republican seat, beating out six candidates for this spot. Vance will face Democratic nominee Rep. Tim Ryan (OH-13) in the November general election.

Pennsylvania Primary Elections

Pennsylvania held its primary elections on May 17 and has left Republicans with a cliffhanger for the race to replace retiring Sen. Pat Toomey. Republican candidates David McCormick, a businessman and former U.S. Under Secretary of the Treasury for International Affairs, and Dr. Mehmet Oz, a cardiothoracic surgeon and television personality, are currently going through an election recount as only 1,200 votes separate the candidate’s totals. Due to Pennsylvania state requirements on automatic recounts, a winner may not be determined until mid-June. The winner of the Republican nomination will face Democratic nominee and current Lieutenant Gov. John Fetterman. 

The race to fill the Pennsylvania Governor’s seat will include current Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro as the Democratic nominee and the Republican nominee Pennsylvania State Senator Doug Mastriano. If Pennsylvania’s primary turn out is any indication of the November election numbers, these races will be some of the closest in the country.

As primary elections continue throughout the summer and early fall, the Council’s Government Affairs staff will continue to monitor results and keep Energy Workforce Member Companies updated on any major impacts from the results of these elections.  

If your company is interested in this issue and working with the Council’s Government Affairs Committee, contact SVP Government Affairs & Counsel Tim Tarpley.


Deidre Kohlrus, Director Government Affairs, writes about industry-specific policies for the Energy Workforce & Technology Council. Click here to subscribe to the Energy Workforce newsletter, which highlights sector-specific issues, best practices, activities and more.
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