Ken Paxton defeated a challenge from a Bush member to win a runoff to the Republican nomination to Texas attorney general. This gave him the opportunity to pursue a third term.
CNN and NBC declared Paxton the winner, beating George P. Bush. CNN and NBC reported that Paxton had 66% of votes, while Bush received 34%. It is yet to call the Democratic runoff. In Texas, there has not been a Democrat elected to statewide office since 1994.
Paxton, 59, was the favorite ahead of the contest and his victory shows Republican voters continue to support him despite Bush’s efforts to highlight ethics issues.
Two-term Attorney General has been charged with securities fraud. He faces allegations from aides that his intervention was to benefit wealthy donors. The state bar has also threatened to sue him for trying to stop the 2020 election. He’s denied any wrongdoing and says the accusations are politically motivated.
Paxton, who was an influential figure in national media for his efforts to reverse the 2020 presidential election in 2020, appeals greatly to Texas conservatives because of his hard-right views on abortion, immigration and transgender care. He was supported by former President Donald Trump.
Bush — the 46-year-old son of Jeb Bush, nephew of George W. Bush and grandson of George H.W. Bush — had sought Trump’s endorsement and tried to distance himself from the more moderate stances his family was known for. When Bush’s term as head of the Texas General Land Office is over in January, it will end a 70-year history of family members who have held state or federal office.
Many of Paxton’s policies have been at odds with the business community. He’s sued tech giants including Alphabet Inc.’s Google and Meta Platforms Inc.’s Facebook over privacy concerns. A coalition of companies has reacted negatively to his investigations on transgender care and children. They fear it will hinder their ability to hire workers for the state. And he’s infuriated Wall Street by preventing banks from underwriting state bond sales if they have cut ties with the firearms industry.
The accusations of wrongdoing against Paxton could end up hurting him in the general election, especially if the securities-fraud case advances or there’s new developments with the whistleblowers in his office, according to Cal Jillson, a professor at Southern Methodist University in Dallas. Last week, Senator John Cornyn, who served as the state’s attorney general in the early 2000s, called Paxton’s legal scandals an “embarrassment.”
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