GOP voters and Attorney General Ken Paxton
On Tuesday, GOP voters will choose A.G. Ken Paxton over George P. Bush, the challenger serving as the commissioner of the Texas General Land Office since 2015. The Bush campaign has focused on the stories and allegations regarding A.G. Paxton's ethics. However, most GOP voters are looking the other way. This is from the Texas Tribune:
Paxton was indicted for felony securities fraud charges several months after he first became attorney general in 2015. In 2020, the FBI began investigating him over claims by former deputies that he abused his office to help a wealthy donor. He has denied wrongdoing in both cases.
Bush has said the legal issues make Paxton unfit for office and could risk the important seat for Republicans in November. And he has increasingly attacked Paxton over an even more personal issue: an extramarital affair that he reportedly had that is connected to the FBI probe.
Separately, Paxton is openly feuding with the state bar, which is suing him over his lawsuit challenging the 2020 election results in four battleground states.
But after an action-packed primary with two other prominent GOP challengers -- U.S. Rep. Louie Gohmert of Tyler and Eva Guzman, a former Texas Supreme Court justice -- the race is ending on a relatively low-key note.
Public and private polls point to a Paxton victory, though a Dallas Morning News-University of Texas at Tyler poll released Sunday proved to be an outlier in giving Paxton only a single-digit lead.
More Republican officials, like Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, have coalesced behind Paxton, while Gohmert and Guzman have declined to endorse Bush despite their well-documented objections to Paxton.
And Paxton has refused to debate Bush, confident he is already on a winning trajectory.
So why are GOP voters looking the other way? I see two reasons:
First, A.G. Paxton has done a good job. He has been a tough advocate for Texas and on attacking the Biden administration over the border chaos.
Second, I think a lot of GOP voters are very skeptical of the media. They see all these anti-Paxton stories and wonder if it means anything. After all, didn't we hear stories about President Trump and Russia for three years only to learn that there was nothing to it? Can you blame GOP voters in Texas for distrusting the media?
Paxton will defeat Bush on Tuesday. It will be the first time that a Bush has lost a statewide race in Texas since former president George H.W. Bush lost the 1964 U.S. Senate race.
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Image: Gage Skidmore.