May 23, 2022 - News

In Trump's shadow, Paxton and Bush square off for Texas AG

george paxton and bush
George P. Bush, left, Ken Paxton, right. Photos: Matthew Busch/Bloomberg via Getty Images; Hannah Gaber/USA Today

Trump ally and embattled Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton squares off tomorrow against challenger George P. Bush, the scion of the Bush family dynasty, in a Republican runoff.

Why it matters: The Paxton-Bush race is a distillation of the internecine politics in the Trump-era GOP.

The big picture: The race has gotten nasty, with Bush calling Paxton a crook unfit to be the state's top law enforcement official.

  • Paxton is under indictment for securities fraud and facing a federal corruption investigation.
  • On Thursday, U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, a fellow Texas Republican, called Paxton's legal woes "an embarrassment."

Yes, but: Paxton, has the all-important endorsement of former President Trump.

What really fascinates us: Bush, currently Texas' land commissioner, tried to get Trump's endorsement, even after the former president had repeatedly denigrated his father, Jeb.

Between the lines: Only the most dedicated voters will participate in Tuesday's runoff.

  • If you voted in a party primary in March, you can vote only in that same party’s runoff. Voters who didn't cast a ballot in the primary can vote in either party’s runoff.

The betting favorite: Prognosticators say Bush didn't hit hard soon enough, and Paxton will likely prevail.

Other races we're watching: Austin police officer Justin Berry — who won Gov. Greg Abbott's endorsement after he was charged with felony assault for his conduct during the May 2020 racial justice protests — squares off against former Austin City Council member Ellen Troxclair in a GOP Texas House race for a district that includes parts of western Travis County, Fredericksburg, Boerne and Burnet.

  • Republican Texas Railroad Commissioner — climate-change-denier and former gospel singer — Wayne Christian is being challenged by attorney Sarah Stogner to helm an agency that regulates the oil and gas industry.

What's next: Come November, GOP nominees will be the favorites in statewide races — no Democrat has won a statewide race in Texas since 1994.

Editor's note: This story has been corrected to show voters who didn't cast a ballot in the primary can vote in either party's runoff.

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