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Are you now, or have you ever been, a supporter of Greg Abbott?

Ken Paxton will get back to you on that.

Best mugshot ever

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said in a New York Times story published Tuesday that he does not support Gov. Greg Abbott, a fellow Republican, as Abbott runs for reelection, the latest — and most revealing — sign that some state GOP leaders are on a collision course ahead of the 2022 election.

“The way this typically works in a primary, is it’s kind of everybody running their own race,” Paxton told the Times. “I don’t think he supports me; I don’t support him.”

Within hours of the story’s publication, Paxton bashed it as “fake news” and insisted he supports Abbott. “He’s a great Governor and a Great Texan,” Paxton tweeted.

Abbott is up for a third term in 2022, and for months he has faced heat from some on his right, most notably over his response to the coronavirus pandemic. Paxton told the Times that he wished Abbott had reopened the state “a little bit earlier.”

[…]

Abbott, a former attorney general, has dealt cautiously with Paxton and his legal woes over the years. Abbott declined to say whether he voted to reelect Paxton in the 2018 primary — Paxton was unopposed — though Abbott went on to voice support for Paxton in the general election.

Abbott said the latest allegations against Paxton “raise serious concerns” but declined further comment until any probe is complete.

Paxton was a top ally of former President Donald Trump among attorneys general, and especially so during Trump’s final weeks in office, when Paxton launched a lawsuit challenging Trump’s reelection loss in four battleground states. Abbott expressed support for the lawsuit, which the U.S. Supreme Court refused to take up.

But will Ken Paxton let Greg Abbott sit at his table in the cafeteria at lunchtime? That’s what I really need to know. Or will he let that b*tch Sid Miller sit there instead? The drama, I just can’t stand the drama.

A Paxton spokesperson, Ian Prior, said in a statement that the Times took Paxton’s comments out of context.

“What the Attorney General said was that typically, when running primary campaigns, candidates run their own races and do not get involved in other races,” Prior said. “This is not a unique concept.”

True enough, but right now we’re talking about whether he supports the two-term Governor, who at this point has no known opponent, or if he’s keeping his options open in case something sexier comes along. The “don’t get involved in other races” stricture is usually for contested primaries or open-seat races, and only if you’re not already in the middle of it for other reasons. It’s fair to say that a political reporter should understand that concept, but it’s also fair to say that “he’s my Governor and I support him” in this context is a pretty anodyne statement, one that a veteran officeholder shouldn’t have had any reason not to make. Sometimes it takes two to upgrade a molehill into a mountain.

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5 Comments

  1. Bill Daniels says:

    “True enough, but right now we’re talking about whether he supports the two-term Governor, who at this point has no known opponent…..”

    Kuff, I don’t think you understand how MUCH hostility on the right there is for Abbott’s shutdowns and mask mandates. It all came to a head when Shelly Luther was jailed as a political prisoner, and Abbott had to start backing off, finally relenting completely on his job killing and soul destroying edicts in March, but it was a case of too little, too late. Combine that with the Coldpocalypse debacle….we’ve connected the dots that Abbott had something to do with the Ercot appointments and……expect Abbott to face a primary challenger. If it’s a genuine Trump supporter, I’ll happily vote to primary Abbott into unemployment.

    Abbott may survive his primary challenge, but I feel certain he’ll have one. After all that’s happened, he won’t coast to re-election again.

  2. Kibitzer says:

    Kuff’s headline is hilarious. Good chuckle!

    Of more debatable jocularity: what qualifies as breaking political news these days.

    Paxton releases a verbal fart (“fake news”), and — voilà — it’s a Tribune story. But since the NYT found this purported Abbott-Paxton rivalry nationally noteworthy in the first instance, we must of course consider it priority provincial news too.

    As a counterweight to the forgoing rant, let me hasten to add an interesting tidbit:

    SOCIAL MEDIA CENSORSHIP AND IMMUNITY: ABBOTT LOBBIES THE COURT

    Guv. Abbott filed his own amicus brief in the pending Facebook mandamus in the Texas Supreme Court. He did so through his General Counsel, independently from the AG’s office. The new Solicitor General filed an amicus too. For the State of Texas (more commonly known as AG Ken Paxton, since the State qua State and qua Client is –shall we say– speechless).

    Not sure what to make of this two-pronged intervention from the executive branch. Perhaps some smarter readers can weigh in.

    Suffice it to suggest in the interim that the forthcoming high court decision will likely provide more meaningful fodder for quality media coverage than the most recent twitter tattle. The case was orally argued in February 2021.

    The docket is here:
    https://search.txcourts.gov/Case.aspx?cn=20-0434&coa=cossup

    IN RE FACEBOOK, INC. AND FACEBOOK, INC. D/B/A INSTAGRAM

    Statement of Interest of Amicus Curiae State of Texas (AG through Solicitor General)

    The State of Texas has an interest in protecting its citizens from human trafficking and enabling survivors to obtain redress for the egregious harms they suffer.
    Combating trafficking is a priority for the Office of the Attorney General. The State
    also has an interest in enforcing its laws unless they are clearly preempted by federal law. Because Facebook proposes an overbroad interpretation of the Communications Decency Act that would improperly preempt state law and deny compensation to trafficking victims, this original proceeding implicates those interests.

    Interest of Amicus Curiae The Governor of the State of Texas

    Governor Greg Abbott files this brief because something must be done about social-media companies silencing conservative viewpoints, and this Court needs to know of the broader impact a ruling here may have beyond this case.

    Texas State Senator Bryan Hughes has taken a stand against Big Tech political censorship by filing Senate Bill 12 in the 87th Legislature. If Governor Abbott gets a chance to sign that crucial bill into law, the social-media companies are sure to argue that it is preempted by Section 230, a now-infamous provision of the federal Communications Decency Act. See 47 U.S.C. § 230. Indeed, one such company is making that preemption argument here.

    As long as the Court decides this case based on Section 230’s plain text, laws like Senate Bill 12 will have ample breathing room and social-media users may have meaningful recourse against undue censorship.

    The key is to choose textualism over purposivism.

    In an effort to encourage that sound methodological approach, no matter who ultimately wins this private dispute, Governor Abbott submits this amicus brief in support of neither party.

  3. Bill Daniels says:

    Wolf,

    https://www.trumanlibrary.gov/education/presidential-inquiries/house-un-american-activities-committee

    The HUAC didn’t go nearly far enough. McCarthy was right!

    [end pot stirring]

  4. Frederick says:

    Bill,

    I think you just needed to end your sentence at this point: “Kuff, I don’t think you understand how MUCH hostility on the right there is”

    No need for any context on any issue since the right has no ideas, proposals or platform. E.g. still waiting on the GOP to come up with their promised health care plan after 12 years. Just keep people angry to keep the $$$ and votes flowing…to heck with actually governing!!!

    That pretty much sums up the tantrum, conspiracy binging RepubliQanon Party.

  5. Bill Daniels says:

    Frederick,

    Contrary to the Blue Anon narrative, there’s a very cogent platform…..return to the policies of Trump, with a few exceptions where he made mistakes (like the bump stock ban).

    Immigration: Finish the wall, return to the MPP “remain in Mexico” policy, and deport everyone caught crossing the border. This makes sense from economic, humanitarian, and public health perspectives. Jobless Americans shouldn’t be fighting for jobs with disease harboring illegals who will work cheaper and depress wages, especially since so many Americans lost their jobs and businesses due to the Wu flu. American children shouldn’t lose resources because Biden chooses to toss American kids under the bus to care for foreign kids.

    Foreign policy: Put America first in dealing with other countries, fix the crappy trade deals like NAFTA that created the giant sucking sound of American jobs disappearing overseas. Push back on China, who not only took our jobs, but gave us lovely gifts like a weaponized virus, intellectual property theft, rampant spying, some even right here in Houston (thus Trump closing the consulate here), etc. Middle East peace by getting the Abraham Accords rolling. Thankfully, Biden hasn’t signed an EO demanding that the peace deals be shredded….yet.

    Domestic: Opportunity zones, to promote development in predominantly poor, non White areas. You can see the fruits of that policy by seeing all the new building around Houston in blighted areas. You can physically see new warehouses, new businesses, lots of home remodeling, and new homes that were built in rough neighborhoods, where vacant lots and teardown eyesores existed for decades. I never saw widespread building and renewal like I did the last few years, and I’ve been in Houston for decades. Something changed…..it was Trump’s policies, the rising tide that lifts ALL boats.

    Treating non Whites as equals, vs. treating them as helpless baby birds not capable of taking care of themselves. Fostering a climate of independence, vs. a climate of dependence.

    Relaxing job killing regulation, bringing taxes in line with the rest of the world, and doing the other things to promote jobs and industry in the US. Remember when Trump told Ford right to their face they could make their cars in MX, but he’d put a 35% tariff on each car they brought across the border? What’s happening now? Ford is relocating an Ohio plant to…..wait for it……MX. Nice job helping out those Ohio Democrat voting union workers.

    Energy: Focus on continued energy independence at home, and exporting our energy abroad. Low and stable energy prices are necessary for a robust, booming economy. For example, plentiful, cheap natural gas via fracking, enabled our metals industries, like aluminum smelting, and our steel mills, many long shuttered, to start making a comeback. Right here in the Houston area, we have steel mills in the Baytown area, all thanks to Trump’s policies, including his pro all of the above energy policies. This not only benefits us, it makes the US stronger and outsizes our influence in the world. Now WE can export energy to Europe, so they don’t, for example, have to import natural gas from Russia, via the Nordstream II pipeline, which Trump strongly opposed. Compare and contrast with Biden, who opposes privately funded infrastructure in the US, like the KeystoneXL pipeline, but enthusiastically SUPPORTS the Russian Nordstream II pipeline. Which one of them is really helping Russia?

    I could go on, but I think you get the point.