Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton to face George P. Bush in runoff
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton is headed to a runoff against the scion of the Bush family on a night when other statewide Republican incumbents cruised to big victories.
Driving the news: With nearly all the ballots counted, Paxton, mired in corruption scandals, had just shy of 43% of the vote.
- Having failed to clear 50%, he will end up in a runoff against Texas Land Commissioner George P. Bush, who held nearly 23% of the vote in a four-person race.
- By squeezing into the runoff, Bush breathes new life into the fabled Texas political name and sets up a barn-burner of a race.
Why it matters: No attorney general had wrapped themselves more tightly to former President Trump than Paxton, who filed lawsuits after the 2020 election arguing that other states' results should be thrown out.
- Paxton, along with Gov. Greg Abbott, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller, had won the endorsement of Trump.
The big picture: The Texas primary was the first big midterm test of the ex-president's clout within the GOP since the Jan. 6 insurrection.
- Paxton's failure to win outright may say less about the limits of Trump's imprimatur and more about Republican distaste for a damaged candidate.
- Abbott won his primary race; with more than three-quarters of the ballots counted, he had nearly 70% of the votes.
- Similarly, Miller and Patrick had commanding leads even as ballots remained uncounted.
Our thought bubble: As of now, the Texas results suggest the 2024 GOP presidential nomination remains Trump's to lose.
- "Big night in Texas!" Trump said late Tuesday. "All 33 candidates that were Trump endorsed have either won their primary election or are substantially leading in the case of a runoff."
- On the other hand: Abbott's impressive showing sets him up for a 2024 national run should Trump opt out and should Abbott beat Beto O'Rouke in the Texas gubernatorial election.
What's next: The primary runoff is set for May 24.
Editor's note: This article has been updated with new details throughout.