Ballotpedia's 2012 General Election Preview Articles: Central Regional State Executive Officials

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November 1, 2012

By Ballotpedia's State executive officials team

Portal:State Executive Officials
See also: Nebraska state executive official elections, 2012
See also: Oklahoma state executive official elections, 2012
See also: South Dakota state executive official elections, 2012
See also: Texas state executive official elections, 2012

MADISON, Wisconsin: Several states in the central region of the country are holding state executive official elections in 2012. Because there are only a small selection of races in Nebraska, Oklahoma, South Dakota and Texas, we are combining their previews into one regional article. Each state will be highlighted below in the relevant tab.


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Nebraska
 Candidates for Public Service Commission 


See also: Nebraska down ballot state executive elections, 2012
Republican Party Frank Landis (R) District 1 Incumbent
Republican Party Tim Schram (R) District 3 Incumbent

Two state executive positions are up for election this year in the state of Nebraska. Voters will make their choice for two Public Service Commissioners on November 6th.

In District 1 incumbent Frank Landis (R) is running for re-election. He was unopposed in the primary and will also be unopposed in the general election. Barring any unforeseen circumstances, he is guaranteed re-election. Landis first assumed office in 1988.[1]

In District 3 incumbent Tim Schram (R) is also running for re-election. Likewise, he was unopposed in the primary and will also be unopposed in the general election. Barring any unforeseen circumstances, he is also guaranteed re-election. Schram first assumed office in 2007.[2]

In Nebraska, all polling locations will be open from 8:00 am to 8:00 pm central time and 7:00 am to 7:00 pm mountain time.[3] Nebraska is divided between Central and Mountain time zones.

Oklahoma
 Candidates for Corporation Commission 


See also: Oklahoma down ballot state executive elections, 2012
Republican Party Bob Anthony (R) Regular term incumbent
Republican Party Patrice Douglas (R) Short term incumbent

In what surely ranks Oklahoma among the least suspenseful states for down ballot races this year, only two state executive positions - two seats on the Oklahoma Corporation Commission - are up for election in 2012, and neither race is contested in the general election.

The Oklahoma Corporation Commission regulates public utilities and the state’s oil and natural gas industry. The commission is composed of three individuals, one of whom serves the role of chairperson. The current chairwoman, Dana Murphy (R), was first elected to a partial, two-year term on the commission in 2008 and then won election to a full six-year term in 2010, becoming the commission's chair on January 3, 2011. The other two seats are up for election this year, one seat for a regular term expiring in 2018 and one seat for the remainder of former commissioner Jeff Cloud's unexpired term, ending in 2014.

The regular term seat is currently occupied by Republican commissioner Bob Anthony. Anthony was first elected to the corporation commission in 1988 is seeking re-election to a fifth consecutive six-year term this year. Today, Anthony holds the title of Oklahoma's longest-serving statewide elected official. He is the Board of Directors of the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners and the National Regulatory Research Institute. He was also appointed by the U.S. Secretary of Energy to serve on the National Petroleum Council.[4] Anthony easily defeated his primary challenger, Brooks Mitchell, in the primary election and is unopposed in the November 6 general election.[5]

The second race for a seat on the commission is a special election to fill the vacancy created by Commissioner Jeff Cloud's departure in 2011. After Cloud resigned, Gov. Mary Fallin appointed Patrice Douglas (R) to the seat until the term's expiration. Douglas faced no primary challenge and is likewise running unopposed in the general election.[6]

The terms of office for the Oklahoma Corporation Commission were amended in 2010. (See also: Article 9, Section 15 of the state constitution).

In Oklahoma, all polls are open from 7:00 AM to 7:00 PM Central Time.[7]

South Dakota
 Candidates for Public Utilities Commissioner 


See also: South Dakota down ballot state executive elections, 2012
Democratic Party Nick Nemec (D)
Republican Party Chris Nelson (R) Seat 1 Incumbent
Democratic Party Matt McGovern (D)
Republican Party Kristie Fiegen (R) Seat 2 Incumbent
Libertarian Party Russel Clarke (L)

Two state executive positions are up for election in 2012 in the state of South Dakota:

The South Dakota Chairman of Public Utilities is a three-person, elected executive board in the South Dakota state government. The commission regulates utility companies, helps to resolve disputes between customers and their utilities, operates safety programs, and licenses and inspects state public grain warehouses and grain buyers.[8]

While South Dakota held primaries for other offices on June 5, 2012 candidates for Public Utilities Commission, were nominated at the Republican and Democratic state conventions in June. Republican incumbents Chris Nelson and Kristie Fiegen were nominated for re-election to their seats at their party's convention, along with their general election opponents Nick Nemec and Matt McGovern, respectively, at their party's convention.[9][10]

Nelson is the current chairman of the South Dakota Public Utilities Commission and a former Republican South Dakota Secretary of State. He was first appointed to the position by Governor Dennis Daugaard to fill a vacancy on the commission. While terms on the commission are for six years, Nelson was appointed in January 2011 and state election law requires election be held for the remaining four years of the term.[11]

Nelson's fellow GOP commissioner Kristie Fiegen was also appointed to the position by Gov. Daugaard to a fill a vacant seat. Fiegen, a member of the South Dakota House of Representatives from 1993-2001, is seeking full term election this year. She will face Matt McGovern (D) in the general election on November 6, 2012.

Also vying for a seat on the commission in 2012 is Libertarian Russel Clarke.[12]

The third incumbent commissioner, Gary Hanson (R) is the current vice chairman of the commission. He was most recently re-elected in 2008 and will next be up for election in 2014.[13]

In South Dakota, all polls will be open from 7:00 am to 7:00 pm. Any voter at the polling place prior to 7:00 pm is allowed to cast a ballot.[14][15]

South Dakota is divided between Central and Mountain time zones.

Texas
See also: South Dakota down ballot state executive elections, 2012

Two state executive positions are up for election in 2012 in the state of Texas.

Since no candidate in either of the two Republican primaries captured more than 50% of the vote in the primary on May 29th, the top two vote getters in each race faced off in a runoff election on July 31, 2012.[16]

Seat 2

 Candidates for Texas Railroad Commissioner 


Democratic Party Dale Henry (D)
Republican Party Christi Craddick (R)
Green Party Chris Kennedy (G)
Libertarian Party Vivekananda Wall (L)

Incumbent Buddy Garcia (R) did not seek re-election. He was appointed to the post by Gov. Rick Perry (R) on April 12, 2012 to fill the vacancy left by Elizabeth Ames Jones (R), who resigned to run for Texas State Senate. Garcia was only appointed to serve until the November 6 general election.[17]

Democrat Dale Henry was unopposed in the May 29 Democratic Primary. He will face off with Republican primary runoff victor Christi Craddick[18], Libertarian nominee Vivekananda Wall, and Chris Kennedy (Green Party) for the open seat in the general election on November 6, 2012.

The winner will serve a full six-year term on the commission.[19]

Seat 3

 Candidates for Texas Railroad Commissioner 


Republican Party Barry Smitherman (R) Incumbent
Green Party Josh Wendel (G)
Libertarian Party Jaime Perez (L)

Incumbent Barry Smitherman (R) is seeking re-election to the commission in 2012. Smitherman was appointed to fill the seat following the resignation of Michael Williams, who left to run for Congress. He defeated Greg Parker in the runoff election on July 31,[20][21]

Smitherman will face Jaime Perez (Libertarian) and Josh Wendel (Green Party) in the general election on November 6, 2012.

The winner of the 2012 race will serve out the remaining two years of Williams' original term.[19]

In Texas, all polling places are open from 7:00 AM to 7:00 PM Central Time.[22] Texas is divided between Central and Mountain time zones.

See also

References

Ballotpedia News
  1. Nebraska Public Service Commission's Website, "Frank Landis Jr.," accessed October 5, 2012
  2. Tim Schram's Campaign Website, "Biography," accessed October 5, 2012
  3. Nebraska Secretary of State, "Voter Info"
  4. Oklahoma Corporation Commission, "Commissioner Bob Anthony," accessed April 13, 2012
  5. Oklahoma State Election Board, "Results: For Corporation Commissioner," accessed June 26, 2012
  6. KTUL.com, "Corporation commissioner Jeff Cloud to resign," September 1, 2011
  7. Oklahoma Elections, "FAQs"
  8. Puc.SD.gov, "About the PUC," accessed October 24, 2011
  9. Business Week, "SD Republicans nominate Nelson, Fiegen to PUC," June 22, 2012
  10. The Republic, "Democratic nominees for utilities commission criticize Republicans over seed company failure," June 16, 2012
  11. Brandon Info, "Nelson seeks re-election to PUC," February 17, 2012
  12. South Dakota Board of Elections, "2012 General Election Candidate List," accessed October 31, 2012
  13. South Dakota Public Utilities Commission, "Meet the Commissioners," accessed October 31, 2012
  14. vote411.org - Voting in South Dakota
  15. South Dakota Secretary of State, "2012 Elections Calendar"
  16. Texas Secretary of State: Election night results, accessed May 29, 2012
  17. CBS Dallas/Fort Worth, "Perry Appoints Garcia To Texas Railroad Commission," April 13, 2012
  18. Houston Chronicle, "2 Railroad Commission seats headed toward runoffs," May 30, 2012
  19. 19.0 19.1 Amarillo Globe News, "Poll: Craddick, Parker lead Railroad Commission races," May 28, 2012
  20. Houston Chronicle, "2 Railroad Commission seats headed toward runoffs," May 30, 2012
  21. '"Texas Secretary of State, "2012 Republican Party primary runoff: Election night returns," accessed July 31, 2012
  22. Vote Texas, "FAQ"