Jessica M. Karmasek Sep. 10, 2013, 3:30pm

AUSTIN, Texas (Legal Newsline) -- Barry Smitherman, a GOP candidate for Texas attorney general, raised some eyebrows for comments made last week regarding the state's potential to become independent.

Smitherman, head of the Texas Railroad Commission, told website WND that Texas could be an "island nation."

"We are uniquely situated because we have energy resources, fossil and otherwise, and our own independent electrical grid," he told the website. "Generally speaking, we have made great progress in becoming an independent nation, an 'island nation' if you will, and I think we want to continue down that path so that if the rest of the country falls apart, Texas can operate as a stand-alone entity with energy, food, water and roads as if we were a closed-loop system."

However, Smitherman didn't go as far as suggest Texas secede from the union.

Gov. Rick Perry made such a remark in 2009, saying he understood the frustration of those Texans who wanted to leave the union.

Smitherman was appointed by Perry to the Railroad Commission in July 2011. In November 2012, he won statewide election to the commission with 74 percent of the vote.

He, along with state Rep. Dan Branch and state Sen. Ken Paxton, are running for the GOP nomination.

Current Attorney General Greg Abbott is running for governor, following Perry's announcement that he would not seek another term in office.

From Legal Newsline: Reach Jessica Karmasek by email at

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