This Texas primary race is off the rails.
A woman running for railroad commissioner in the Lone Star State has raised eyebrows over her racy campaign video — in which she straddles an oil pump wearing little more than a cowboy hat and boots.
“They said I needed money. I have other assets,” GOP lawyer Sarah Stogner, 37, said in a tweet of the campaign clip posted TikTok clip.
Stogner, who posted the steamy video on Super Bowl Sunday, said it was shot in November by a documentary crew she hired for her campaign against incumbent Wayne Christian, the Houston Chronicle reported.
Some friends suggested that she post the video on TikTok to call attention to leaking wells in West Texas, according to the paper.
“I started doing a little digging and was like, wow, this is great,” she told the outlet. “This is how I’m going to communicate to the masses about what’s happening out here, because people are visual.”
Stogner told the paper she decided to release the video because the risk seemed worth it — as a University of Houston poll showed her only a few points behind Christian, who has been bankrolled by oil and gas interests.
“I knew it would be controversial. I didn’t realize it would incite the rage and anger that it did from the press,” she told the Chronicle.
The San Antonio Express-News described the video as “disgraceful” and pulled its endorsement for Stogner.
“We review social media, and Stogner would never had been our pick had the video appeared before we made our recommendation,” the paper said in an editorial.
“It’s painful to rescind a recommendation. But this is an opportunity to reaffirm our principles and expectations,” the editorial board wrote.
“We expect candidates for public office to model civil discourse and decorum worthy of the public’s trust. This was neither,” it added.
Stogner said she wished the Express-News had waited to hear what she had to say before it pulled the endorsement, Fox News reported.
“We have radiation in our water. But me scantily clad is where the line is drawn,” she wrote on Facebook.
Last week, Stogner told KENS 5: “I want to put my clothes back on and have a serious conversation. I want to talk about groundwater. I want to talk about flaring. I want to talk about winterizing our infrastructure pipelines. But that’s boring. It doesn’t get click bait.”
The candidate said the clip has opened opportunities to discuss the “real” issues about her campaign.
“The video is being perceived just as I desired, a knock on the door and now that door is open,” she told Fox News. “It has allowed me to engage folks who appreciated my passion and concerns.”
Despite its name, the Railroad Commission has not regulated railroads since 2005. Instead, it oversees the Lone Star State’s oil and gas industry, the network explained.
Neither Christian nor a second GOP challenger, Tom Slocum, has responded to requests for comment by the Chronicle.
Another candidate, Dawayne Tipton, who is endorsed by all three of the state’s largest papers, said he doesn’t fault Stogner.
“It was a Hail Mary to energize her campaign. It’s not something that I would personally do or undertake,” he told the Chronicle.
Stogner said she is used to being objectified in the male-dominated industry
“I understand that when I walk into a room or a space people don’t assume that I’m a lawyer or that I’m competent on anything to do with oil and gas,” she told the paper.
“But I am, and have I got your attention now? So let’s put our clothes on and talk about the issues,” she added.