Barry Smitherman

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Barry Smitherman
Barry Smitherman.jpg
Current candidacy
Running for Attorney General of Texas
General electionNovember 4, 2014
Current office
Texas Railroad Commission
In office
July 2011 – Present
Term ends
Years in position 4
PredecessorMichael Williams (R)
Elections and appointments
Last electionNovember 6, 2012
Next generalNovember 4, 2014
Campaign $$4,085,092
AppointedJuly 8, 2011
Appointed byRick Perry (R)
Term limitsN/A
Prior offices
Texas Public Utility Commission
High schoolRoss S. Sterling High School
Bachelor'sTexas A&M University
Master'sHarvard University
J.D.University of Texas School of Law
Office website
Personal website
Campaign website
Barry Smitherman is a current Commissioner of the Texas Railroad Commission, a regulatory body that oversees the oil and natural gas industries in Texas. Smitherman has served since his appointment in July 2011 to fill the commissioner post left vacant by Michael Williams' resignation, who is now the Texas Commissioner of Education. Smitherman is serving out the last two years of Williams' unexpired term and the position be up for re-election on November 4, 2014.[1]

Smitherman was named Chairman of the Commission in February 2012, following the resignation of Elizabeth Ames Jones.[2]

Before becoming a member of the railroad commission, Smitherman served as Chair of the Texas Public Utility Commission. His professional experience prior to includes working as a banker, a prosecutor for Harris County District Attorney's Office and teaching Public Administration at St. Thomas University.[3]

A February 2013 article in Governing named Smitherman as one of the top state Republican officials to watch in 2013.[4]

Smitherman ran for Texas Attorney General in 2014.[5]


Smitherman was a public finance investment banker from 1986 until 2002. He was hired as a prosecutor with the Harris County district attorney's office in 2003. He currently serves on the Department of Energy’s Electricity Advisory Committee (EAC).

Smitherman is a member of the State Bar of Texas and Vice Chairman of the Governor’s Advisory Panel on Federal Environmental Regulation as well as the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissions (NARUC) Board of Directors and the Committee on Energy Resources and the Environment (ERE). He is also the Chairman of the NARUC Committee on Gas. [6]


  • Texas A&M University, B.A [6]
  • Harvard University, M.P.A[6]
  • University of Texas School of Law, J.D.[6]

Political career

Texas Railroad Commission (2011-present)

Smitherman was first appointed to the Texas Railroad Commission by Governor Rick Perry on July 8, 2011 following the resignation of former commissioner Michael Williams, who stepped down to run for U.S. House.[7] Williams' term was not set to expire until 2014. As stated by the railroad commission office website, "When a Commissioner is appointed by the Governor to fill an unexpired term, the appointee serves until the next General Election at which time the appointee may run for the remainder of the unexpired term." Because of this procedure, after his initial appointment, Smitherman was elected in the 2012 general election to an abbreviated term on the commission ending in 2014.[1]

Public Utility Commission of Texas (2004-2011)

In 2004, Rick Perry appointed him to the board of the Public Utility Commission. He was reappointed in September 2007, and the board elected him chairman in November 2007.



See also: Texas attorney general election, 2014

Smitherman ran for Texas Attorney General in 2014. He sought the Republican nomination in the primary.[5] Current incumbent Greg Abbott (R) is expected to run for governor, leaving the position open. The general election took place November 4, 2014.


See also: Texas down ballot state executive elections, 2012

Smitherman ran for re-election to the Texas Railroad Commission in 2012. He faced Greg Parker, Elizabeth Murphy-Kolb and Al Lee in the May 29 Republican primary. Since no candidate won more than 50 percent of the vote, the top two vote getters - Smitherman and Parker - faced off in a runoff election on July 31,[8] which Smitherman won.[9]

  • Primary
Texas Railroad Commissioner, Unexpired term, Primary, 2012
Candidate Vote % Votes
Green check mark transparent.pngBarry Smitherman Incumbent 44.2% 497,100
Green check mark transparent.pngGreg Parker 27.8% 311,903
Elizabeth Murphy-Kolb 21.5% 241,784
Al Lee 6.5% 72,867
Total Votes 1,123,654
Election Results via The Texas Secretary of State.

  • Primary Runoff
Texas Railroad Commissioner, Unexpired term, Primary Runoff, 2012
Candidate Vote % Votes
Green check mark transparent.pngBarry Smitherman Incumbent 62.1% 583,506
Greg Parker 37.9% 355,480
Total Votes 938,986
Election Results via The Texas Secretary of State (timed out).

Smitherman defeated Jaime Perez (Libertarian) and Josh Wendel (Green Party) in the general election on November 6, 2012.[10]


Smitherman was first appointed to the Texas Railroad Commission by Governor Rick Perry on July 8, 2011.[7]

Campaign donors

Comprehensive donor information for Smitherman is available dating back to 2011. Based on available campaign finance records, Smitherman raised a total of $4,085,092 during that time period. This information was last updated on June 19, 2013.[11]

Barry Smitherman's Campaign Contribution History
Year Office Result Contributions
2012 TX Railroad Commission Won $4,085,092
Grand Total Raised $4,085,092


Smitherman won re-election to the position of Texas Railroad Commissioner in 2012. During that election cycle, Smitherman raised a total of $4,085,092.


Smitherman grew up in Highlands, Texas, and now lives in Austin with his wife and two of their four children. Their two oldest sons attend Texas A&M University.

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Political offices
Preceded by
Michael Williams (R)
Texas Railroad Commission
Succeeded by