Wayne Christian retracts “only Christian on the ballot” slogan after outcry from Jewish opponent Luke Warford
By Trent Brown, The Texas Tribune
“Wayne Christian retracts “only Christian on the ballot” slogan after outcry from Jewish opponent Luke Warford” was first published by The Texas Tribune, a nonprofit, nonpartisan media organization that informs Texans — and engages with them — about public policy, politics, government and statewide issues.
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Since 1996, Texas Railroad Commissioner Wayne Christian has campaigned using a slogan that made reference to his last name: “Remember to vote for the only Christian on the ballot.”
But on Friday, Christian’s campaign said it will stop using the slogan after being called out by Democratic opponent Luke Warford, who is Jewish. Christian said he did not know Warford’s religion.
The two face off for the seat on the oil and gas regulatory board on Nov. 8. Early voting started this week and continues through next week.
Warford took to Twitter on Thursday evening, calling Christian’s comments “bigoted.” “Incumbent Wayne Christian is too focused on spouting lazy, hateful nonsense to actually do his job,” he wrote.
[Luke Warford tries to break the Republican hold on the Railroad Commission by focusing on the power grid and climate change]
Travis McCormick, a spokesperson for Christian, told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency in an interview Friday that the slogan was nothing more than a joke to help voters remember Christian’s name. “We definitely would not have said it if we realized our opponent was Jewish,” McCormick said. McCormick also said Christian will not use the tagline moving forward.
Christian told The Texas Tribune he has “nothing but love and support for the Jewish community, and strongly condemns anti-semitism of any kind,”
Christian used the same slogan as recently as 2016, when he ran against state Rep. Gary Gates, who attends a Christian church, according to his legislative biography.
Warford was largely unmoved by Christian’s response.
“While I’m glad Christian apologized, this moment is just another example of how out of touch he is,” Warford said in a statement Friday. “Texans deserve elected officials who don’t just repeat the same tired lines and instead are willing to come to the table to solve the very real challenges facing our state.”
Christian served as a state representative from 1997-2005 and from 2007-13. He was first elected as one of three state railroad commissioners, who head the Texas Railroad Commission, in 2016. The organization, the oldest regulatory agency in Texas, oversees the oil and natural gas industry, pipeline transporters, coal and uranium mining, and more. The Railroad Commission has not had authority or jurisdiction over state railroads since 2005.
Patrick Svitek contributed to this report.
This article originally appeared in The Texas Tribune at https://www.texastribune.org/2022/10/28/wayne-christian-luke-warford-slogan-railroad-commission/.
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