Warren Chisum

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Warren Darrel Chisum
Texas State Representative from District 88 (Gray and 18 other Panhandle or West Texas counties)
In office
January 1989 – January 8, 2013
Preceded by David Swinford in District 84
Succeeded by Ken King in reconfigured district
Personal details
Born (1938-07-04) July 4, 1938 (age 79)
Pampa, Gray County, Texas
Nationality American
Political party Democrat-turned-Republican
Spouse(s) Omega C. Chisum
Residence Pampa, Texas
Alma mater Lefors High School (1957)
Occupation Ranching
Oil and Natural Gas

Warren Darrel Chisum (born July 4, 1938) is a conservative Republican former member of the Texas House of Representatives from the Panhandle city of Pampa, a community of some 20,000 people and the seat of Gray County, Texas. His service began in January 1989. A key lieutenant of former Speaker Thomas Russell "Tom" Craddick, Sr., of Midland, Chisum chaired the budget-writing House Appropriations Committee from 2007 to 2009.

In addition to his own Gray County, Chisum represented a sizable geographic area of eighteen other Panhandle or West Texas counties in House District 88: Armstrong, Bailey, Briscoe, Castro, Childress, Collingsworth, Donley, Hall, Hansford, Hemphill, Hutchinson, Lamb, Lipscomb, Ochiltree, Parmer, Roberts, Swisher, and Wheeler. From 1989 to 1993, Chisum represented District 84, which then included his Gray County.[1]

2012 Railroad Commission race[edit]

Chisum did not seek renomination to the House in the Republican primary held on May 29, 2012. Instead he ran for a seat on the Texas Railroad Commission, the position held on an interim basis by Buddy Garcia and vacated in February 2012 by the elected commissioner, Elizabeth Ames Jones of San Antonio. Jones ran unsuccessfully for the Texas Senate, District 25 seat against fellow Republican Jeff Wentworth, the long-term incumbent in that position. Wentworth was himself unseated by a third candidate, Donna Campbell, a conservative physician from New Braunfels in the July 31 runoff election.[2]

With 27 percent of the vote collected in the primary, Chisum entered the July 31 runoff against Christi Craddick, an attorney based in Austin who specializes in water, tax issues, electric deregulation, petroleum, natural gas, and environmental policy.[3] Craddick led the primary field of six candidates with nearly 36 percent of the vote.[4] Craddick is the daughter of State Representative Tom Craddick of Midland, the preceding Speaker of the Texas House of Representatives and previously a Chisum ally. Chisum questioned Tom Craddick's donation of $300,000 to his daughter in that Christi Craddick had said her father was not "involved" in the railroad commissioner race.[5]

The Lubbock Avalanche-Journal described Chisum's prospects as "uphill" considering that Craddick raised three times the campaign contributions of Chisum. She reported to the Texas Ethics Commission more than $1 million in contributions compared to Chisum's $375,000. Much of Craddick's contributions come from Midland. Chisum remained competitive in the race by tapping into more than $600,000 that he raised during his legislative years. Craddick was backed by such wealthy donors as the physician-turned-entrepreneur James R. Leininger and the since deceased homebuilder Bob J. Perry of Houston, no relation to Governor Rick Perry. Chisum was endorsed by Roland Sledge of Houston, the fifth-placed candidate who polled nearly 9 percent of the primary vote.[3]

Craddick easily prevailed in the runoff, having received 589,211 votes (59.8 percent) to Chisum's 396,858 ballots (40.2 percent).[2] Christi Craddick then defeated the Democrat Dale Henry of Lampasas in the November 6 general election. She immediately claimed the seat to succeed interim commissioner Buddy Garcia.

Legislative career[edit]

A native and longterm resident of Pampa, Chisum is a rancher and a producer of both petroleum and natural gas. He graduated in 1957 from Lefors High School in Lefors in his native Gray County. He began his career on oil drilling rigs and in truck yards. His Pampa-based energy company, Omega, is named for his wife of more than a half century, Omega C. Chisum (also born 1938). Chisum sits on the boards of several other energy companies as well.[3]

Chisum served the first eight years of his House tenure as a Democrat, but he switched to GOP allegiance in 1996,[1] by which time his sprawling district became measurably more Republican. Chisum said that his relationship with the Democratic Party and fellow Panhandle resident, then Speaker Pete Laney, remained cordial: "They were my friends then, and they are my friends now. I think probably the old-line conservative Democrat was just as conservative as some of the new conservative Republicans."

Chisum is considered both a social and economic conservative. He authored the 2005 constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriages in Texas. He opposes adoption by same-sex couples.[6] The marriage amendment was approved in 253 counties, having been defeated only in Travis County, which includes the Texas state capital. Seventeen percent of voters turned out for the special election, a high figure compared to most such contests.[7]

Chisum is a former member of the Texas Conservative Coalition, a consortium of right-leaning House members. He headed the organization for a number of years.

Chisum opposes hate crimes legislation: "Any time you start producing a list of people who, for whatever reason, have greater protection than other people, I think you weaken the law," Chisum said. Though he declared crimes of "bias and prejudice... wrong... the record shows clearly that I've always opposed this laundry list."

During the January 2007 speaker's race between Craddick and Jim Pitts of Waxahachie, Chisum led the effort to re-elect the Speaker. He again aided Craddick during the May 2007 controversy when the Speaker refused to recognize Members seeking his ouster.

In February 2007, Chisum delivered to the state House a memo by State Representative Ben Bridges of Georgia attacking what it called "the evolution monopoly in the schools". The memo claims that in teaching evolution, schools are indoctrinating students in the beliefs of the ancient Jewish Pharisees sect.[8]

Chisum has chided many of his conservative and Republican colleagues for failure "to stand up and be counted and take the abuse that you're going to take" for having unpopular views on liberal issues. Chisum is also critical of government in general. He boasts of having killed numerous liberal legislative agenda items: "Most of them don't come back up again.... The only thing the law ever does is, it either takes away your money or your freedom, so there's one hundred times that we didn't take away your money or your freedom."

A former chairman of the House Environmental Regulation Committee, Chisum has opposed many environmental regulations as unwise government intrusion into private economic activities. He once tried to bring a nuclear waste dump into Andrews County but then voted against his own bill after opponents loaded it with objectionable amendments.

On January 30, 2007, Chisum introduced a bill in the Texas House which would clarify parental permission for their children to participate in sex education programs in public schools. The Chisum proposal would require parents to check "Yes" for their children to participate in the programs. Some school districts begin teaching sexual matters to pupils as young as five or six. Chisum said that certain school districts have not informed parents of their rights, the content of the programs, and at what age those programs begin. Chisum said that the checkoff-box bill he supports would make school districts more accountable to the wishes of parents.

In 2008, Chisum announced support for his proposal to prolong the waiting time in Texas to finalize a divorce. His bill, had it passed, would extend the time needed from one to two years. Chisum feels the extended time will result in more reconciliations. Divorce attorney Rikky Rivers called his idea "ludicrous".[9]

In the election of 2006, Chisum won every county in the district to defeat the Libertarian candidate Timothy Justice, 24,044 to 4,244. There was no Democratic nominee that year in the heavily Republican district.

In 2012, the Republican Ken King of Canadian was elected without opposition in the general election to succeed Chisum in a reconfigured District 88. In the Republican runoff primary held on July 31, King unseated freshman Representative Jim Landtroop of Plainview, Texas.


  1. ^ a b "Legislative Reference Library of Texas: Warren Chisum". lrl.state.tx.us. Retrieved October 30, 2011. 
  2. ^ a b "2012 Republican Party Runoff Results". enr.sos.state.tx.ux. Retrieved August 1, 2012. 
  3. ^ a b c "Enrique Rangel, "Chisum faces uphill battle for new seat"". Lubbock Avalanche-Journal. Retrieved June 3, 2012. 
  4. ^ "Republican primary election returns, May 29, 2012". enr.sos.state.tx.us. Retrieved May 30, 2012. 
  5. ^ "Enrique Rangel, "Warren Chisum accuses Christi Craddick of hiding dad's involvement in Railroad Commissioner race," July 14, 2012". m.lubbockonline.com. Retrieved January 9, 2013. 
  6. ^ "Features String". The Austin Chronicle. June 3, 2005. Retrieved 2007-01-10. 
  7. ^ "Enrique Rangel, Funding for state water plan tops ballot, October 13, 2013". lubbockonline.com. Retrieved October 21, 2013. 
  8. ^ Garrett, Robert (February 14, 2007). "Memo: Stop teaching evolution". The Dallas Morning News. Retrieved 2009-03-17. 
  9. ^ "Rep. Chisum plans to reintroduce bill to prolong divorce wait times". Austin News. kxan.com. 9 October 2008. Retrieved 2009-03-17. 

External links[edit]

Preceded by
David Swinford in District 84
Texas State Representative from District 88 (Panhandle and West Texas)

Warren Darrel Chisum

Succeeded by
Ken King in reconfigured district
Preceded by
Foster Whaley
Texas State Representative from District 84

Warren Darrel Chisum

Succeeded by
Robert L. Duncan