(credit: Friends of Barry Smitherman)

AUSTIN (AP) – Texas Railroad Commission Chairman Barry Smitherman has defeated Gregory Parker for the Republican nomination to retain his seat on the board that has nothing to do with trains but regulates oil and gas exploration statewide.

Smitherman faces no Democratic opposition in the November general election for the Place 2 seat on the three-member commission.

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Gov. Rick Perry appointed Smitherman to the chairman position last year, replacing Michael Williams. Smitherman is running to complete Williams’ original term, which expires in 2014.

Smitherman was an attorney for the Public Utility Commission and later became its chairman. He helped create Texas’ robust wind power infrastructure.

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All the candidates for the board campaigned against overregulation by the Environmental Protection Agency and said the Railroad Commission’s name should be changed to reflect its true duties.

(© Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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