Texas 2022 Election Guide (Part 1): Overview


There are fifteen executive state-level positions up for grabs in this 2022 election cycle: one seat on the Railroad Commission, Land Commissioner, Agriculture Commissioner, seven seats on the Board of Education, Public Comptroller, Attorney General, Lieutenant Governor, and, of course, Governor. Yet, a majority of Texans are unaware of the duties of each of these positions as well as the candidates up for election. In an effort to assuage this issue, the Keystone Keynote would like to present a Texas election guide that will remain as purely factual and un-editorialized as possible. The first part of this five-part series is dedicated to presenting a general outline of the duties and powers of the offices up for election, and the other four will present election-specific information on the candidates.


The Texas Governor fulfills a role similar—but not entirely congruous—to that of the President of the United States: both have the power to veto and sign off on bills, appoint members of executive agencies (e.g. the Public Utility Commission, Veterans Commission, and Transportation Commission, in the case of the Governor), influence the legislative agenda, act as commander-in-chief, and pardon or commute state sentences. Unlike the president, the Texas Governor wields power in appropriation—namely, the Governor is required to make an annual budget proposal and possesses some authority in executing the budget when the legislature is not in session. Greg Abbott, the incumbent, is up for his third term this election season and will most likely face former House Representative Beto O’Rourke in the general election. Abbott is facing several challengers in the Republican primary, but polling seems to indicate that candidates such as Don Huffines have a slim chance of winning.

Lieutenant Governor

The Lieutenant Governor’s primary responsibility is presiding over the Senate, which includes the power to set the Senatorial agenda and committee assignments. With this legislative power, the Lt. Governor also co-chairs the Legislative Budget Board along with the Speaker of the Texas House of Representatives. This board is integral in drafting the annual state budget and typically coordinates with the Governor in managing federal funds when Congress is not in session. The incumbent, Dan Patrick, will be seeking his third term as Lt. Governor. His opponent in the general election is unclear, but, according to preliminary polling, it seems as though Mike Collier, a former CFO of a Texas oil company, will be elected in the Democratic primary.

Attorney General

The Texas Attorney General (AG) serves a fairly similar role to that of the Federal Attorney General; particularly, both serve as the chief legal officer for their respective jurisdictions. Most familiarly, the Texas AG represents the state in court, whether it be federal or state-level. Outside of this responsibility, the AG has power over child support enforcement, assists local and county offices in the investigation and prosecution of crimes, and holds a partial role in approving state debts and bonds. It is fairly likely that Incumbent Ken Paxton will survive a primary challenge from current Land Commissioner George P. Bush and face likely Democratic nominee Joe Jaworski in the general election.

Comptroller of Public Accounts

The Public Comptroller proverbially “keeps the books” for the state of Texas: the office manages the state treasury, audits state agencies, presents an estimate for biannual state revenue, presides over state contracting, registers bonds, administers government savings programs, and carries out state tax collection. Incumbent Glenn Hegar is likely to win a third term, but with little polling for this position, it is not impossible for a Democratic challenger to unseat him.

Land Commissioner

The most apparent role of the Texas Land Commissioner is to preside over state-owned property as well as manage the revenue that originates from said property. A significant portion of this revenue, most of which is generated from oil production, is transferred to the Permanent School Fund, with approximately $38 billion dollars of revenue going towards the Texas public school system. Additionally, the Land Commissioner presides over various benefits programs such as the Texas Veterans Land Board, which discounts veterans’ purchases of state-owned land. As previously mentioned, the incumbent George P. Bush is running for Attorney General, so the seat is open this coming election cycle. Among the most popular candidates are Jay Kleberg, a conservationist based in Austin, running in the Democratic primary, and former Texas Real Estate Commissioner Weston Martinez, running in the Republican primary.

Agriculture Commissioner

The Texas Agriculture Commissioner serves a primarily regulatory role, ensuring that agricultural products and fuel pumps meet state standards. Additionally, the Commissioner manages pesticide regulation and food assistance programs such as school lunches and the Texans Feeding Texans initiative. Sid Miller is seeking a third term in office and will likely be successful in this race, with few credible challengers.

Railroad Commissioner

Contrary to what one might be led to believe, the Texas Railroad Commission is the regulatory authority for oil and gas in Texas. Three Railroad Commissioners preside over the body, each with staggered six-year terms. Wayne Christian, the chair of the commission, is up for reelection. Considering his sizable war chest and lead in the polls, it is likely he will win a second term in office.

Board of Education

The Board of Education is led by fifteen elected officials on a district level through a system that will be expanded upon in a later installation of the Texas Election Guide. As one might expect, the board oversees the design of the K-12 public school curriculum, logistics, and funding. It manages these tasks through a body known as the Texas Education Agency (TEA). The most recent proposal for the redrawing of education districts is expected to widen the existing Republican Board of Education majority.