Republican state Sen. Dawn Buckingham running for Texas land commissioner

State Sen. Dawn Buckingham, R-Lakeway at the Texas Tribune Festival on Sept. 23, 2017.

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State Sen. Dawn Buckingham, R-Lakeway, announced Monday she is running for land commissioner.

“I will be running for Land Commissioner with a strong conservative record defending the right to life, our Second Amendment, our invaluable oil and gas industry, and the low tax economy that has made Texas great. Conservatives know just how important the Texas General Land Office is," Buckingham said in a statement.

"It’s my goal as your next Texas Land Commissioner to safeguard the heroes who served in our military, protect our exceptional natural resources, and protect our unique Texas heritage, especially the Alamo,” she said.

The Texas Tribune first reported her intentions to run Friday, when Buckingham was making calls to potential supporters sharing her decision, according to sources.

On Friday afternoon, Buckingham launched several Facebook ads alluding to a land commissioner run, asking viewers, for example, if they are "ready to elect the first female Land Commissioner." Another ad billed her as a "staunch defender of the Trump agenda."

The news of her decision comes two days after the current land commissioner, George P. Bush, announced he was running for attorney general next year, challenging fellow Republican Ken Paxton.

Buckingham was first elected in 2016 to represent Senate District 24 in Central Texas. While she won a second term last year, all members of the Senate have to run for reelection in 2022 due to redistricting, so she will have to give up her seat if she runs for land commissioner.

Another Republican, Weston Martinez, announced Monday that he is running for land commissioner. Martinez is a San Antonio activist who has run twice for the Railroad Commission. Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller endorsed Martinez's bid on Friday afternoon.

Buckingham may not be the only GOP state senator who vies for land commissioner. Sen. Brandon Creighton of Conroe has been discussed as a potential candidate, and asked for comment, a spokesperson provided a statement from him that indicated his focus was still on legislative issues.

"I am officially announcing that I am ready for the special session," Creighton said in the statement. "Let’s get an election bill passed."

The General Land Office oversees investments that earn billions of dollars for public education. It is responsible for managing state lands, and it operates the Alamo, helps communities recovering from natural disasters and doles out benefits to Texas veterans.