Ken Paxton and George P. Bush enter runoff election for Texas Attorney General

Ken Paxton and George P. Bush enter runoff election for Texas Attorney General

Isabel Webb Carey
Isabel Webb Carey
|
March 2, 2022

The results of Tuesday’s GOP primary indicate that  Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton failed to win enough Republican support to avoid a runoff. The two-term incumbent is predicted to face  Land Commissioner George P. Bush in a May 24th runoff. 

Going into the primary, Paxton had enjoyed endorsement from former President Donald Trump and a large campaign war chest of $2.8 million. However, the incumbent candidate failed to secure the necessary 50% of the vote. Bush received 22.8% of the votes, while Eva Guzman and Louie Gohmert captured 17.5% and 17% respectively.

Paxton has been belabored by legal woes and his opponents were quick to draw attention to what they frame as a knock on his integrity and a distraction in his ability to effectively carry out his duties. Eight of Paxton’s former top deputies accused him of bribery and abuse of office, which the FBI is now investigating. Paxton also has been under indictment since 2015 on securities fraud charges. He has repeatedly denied wrongdoing.

Bush has already promised to continue to educate voters about Paxton’s legal troubles and the FBI investigation into him for bribery and abuse of office, citing that only 1 in 3 Republican voters knew about those troubles during the campaign.

“He is going to divert attention away from his legal problems and personal challenges,” Bush said of Paxton. “I’m going to be the most effective to secure the border, back law enforcement and take on issues that we’ve been talking about on this campaign. So he can talk all he wants, but we’re going to have three months to have this debate if he dares leave his basement.”

Bush has also challenged Paxton to five televised debates across Texas but said, “I suspect that he won’t show up to anything.”

Yet if successful in the primaries, Paxton will be targeted by Democrats in the general election. Following the news that Bush would be facing Paxton in the runoff, Bush argued that his opponent’s election would be advantageous to Democrats. 

“That’s what’s at stake in this race,” he said. “That’s what this campaign is about. It’s not about one individual. It’s about preserving conservative values in our state.”

The Democratic race, with five candidates, seems poised for a runoff as well. Immigration attorney Rochelle Garza has a sizable lead over her four challengers but remains below the 50% mark needed to avoid a runoff. She will likely face former Galveston Mayor Joe Jaworksi, though he is within a couple of percentage points of civil rights attorney Lee Merritt.

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Isabel Webb Carey

Isabel Webb Carey

Isabel Webb Carey attends the University of Texas at Austin in the Plan II Honors Program with a certificate in Core Texts and Ideas. Her interests include education, local governance, sustainability, and equity. Isabel enjoys dancing, hiking, and live music. She is also a staff writer for the Texas Orator. Email her at isabelwebbcarey@gmail.com
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