An Austin lobbyist has joined the race for Texas Agriculture Commissioner in 2018.
Trey Blocker, an Austin lobbyist and attorney, announced his campaign on Tuesday. Blocker is the first Republican challenger to emerge to face incumbent Republican commissioner Sid Miller.
Blocker said that he is running for the office of Texas agriculture commissioner to bring "honesty, integrity and fiscal responsibility" to the Department of Agriculture.
"I'm running because we need to bring honesty, integrity and fiscal responsibility back to the Department of Agriculture," Blocker said in his campaign announcement. "We need to restore the TDA to its core mission of promoting, protecting and preserving Texas agriculture and rural Texas. And we need a commissioner who can be an articulate, intelligent defender of our core conservative values."
Blocker has long been rumored to be a challenger to Miller, as Commissioner Sid Miller is preparing to seek a second term to the office of agriculture commissioner. Miller has been a long-time supporter of President Donald Trump, campaigning with Trump at several stops in 2018. Miller was also a speculated candidate for the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture job, although Trump eventually chose former Georgia governor Sonny Perdue to take the spot.
Miller responded to Blocker's campaign announcement on Wednesday afternoon, saying that Blocker is a long-time supporter of the Texas Democratic Party and is a "political hack." Miller also went on to say that Blocker lacks the experience necessary to serve as Texas' agriculture commissioner.
"It’s hard to take him seriously when he claims his agriculture experience comes from cleaning out horse stalls as a kid or being a hired-gun lobbyist for Monsanto," Miller said on Wednesday. "Sadly, Trey Blocker doesn’t know jack-diddly about Texas ag."
Also running for the office of agriculture commissioner is Democrat Kim Olson. Olson is a retired colonel in the United States Air Force.
In addition, Texas real estate investor Gary Gates has been rumored to be considering a Republican bid for the spot in 2018.
Candidates have until December 11th to file for a spot on the ballot. The Republican primary will be held on March 6th.