P Bush officially challenges Paxton

The primary no one asked for.

Land Commissioner George P. Bush announced Wednesday that he is running for attorney general, challenging fellow Republican Ken Paxton with a sharp focus on Paxton’s legal troubles.

“Enough is enough, Ken,” Bush said during a campaign kickoff at a downtown Austin bar. “You’ve brought way too much scandal and too little integrity to this office. And as a career politician for 20 years, it’s time for you to go.”

The 2022 matchup could be the marquee statewide primary of this election cycle, and former President Donald Trump already looms large. He said in a statement last week that he would issue an endorsement in the race — and do so “in the not-so-distant future.” Bush told reporters after his announcement that he has asked Trump for his endorsement.

Both Bush and Paxton have histories with Trump. Bush — son of former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush — was the only prominent member of his famous political family to support Trump in 2016, and Trump has praised him as the only Bush “that got it right.” Paxton has positioned himself as one of the most pro-Trump attorneys general — especially after the November election, when Paxton led an unsuccessful lawsuit challenging Trump’s reelection loss in four battleground states.

Paxton’s campaign responded to Bush’s launch by touting the attorney general as the “tip of the spear in protecting President Trump’s America First principles.”


During his speech to supporters, Bush warned that Democrats are eager to face Paxton in November because they see him as “our weak link.”

“They know that if he is our nominee again, they will have their first statewide elected office in close to 30 years,” Bush said.

At least one Democrat, Joe Jaworski, has already launched a campaign for attorney general. Jaworski is a Galveston attorney and former mayor of the city. Lee Merritt, the nationally recognized civil rights lawyer from North Texas, has said he plans to challenge Paxton but has not specified which primary he would run in.

Despite the long-running indictment, Paxton faced no primary opposition for a second term 2018. He ended up having a closer-than-expected race in the general election, when the Democratic nominee, Justin Nelson, campaigned heavily on Paxton’s legal troubles and finished within 4 percentage points of him.

See here/a>, here, and here for the background. Bush is right about one thing – I’d rather we get to run against Paxton, for all the obvious reasons. No guarantees, of course, but come on. Between the criminal charges that may finally see the inside of a courtroom and the whistleblower lawsuit, the potential for bad news for Paxton is high.

As for who Trump endorses, let’s just say that’s of niche appeal, and if the guy he picks loses in the primary he’ll likely endorse the other guy anyway. None of this is for my interest, after all. It’s moderately interesting that Trump endorsed Greg Abbott in his race, much to Don Huffines’ annoyance and without waiting to see if Sid Miller will wallow into the contest. Try to avoid watching any live TV during primary season next year, the ads are going to be brutal.

On the Dem side, Joe Jaworski is a friend, very well qualified, and actively campaigning right now. I have no idea what to make of Lee Merritt, but I hope he at least clarifies his intentions soon. We need to be ready to focus on this race, whoever the opponent ends up being.

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7 Responses to P Bush officially challenges Paxton

  1. Gregory Shaw says:

    So that means that Land Commissioner is wide open.

  2. Bill Daniels says:

    Jaworski seemed reasonably competent, and pro business, so that’s a plus, but the albatross that will hang around him is his enthusiastic support for rebuilding the government housing bigly after Ike. Ike washed away the chronic undesirables of Galveston, and Jaworski worked hard to not only get back the original group, but to expand the replacement housing to bring in more, AKA, the Julian Castro gambit, which Biden is currently pushing. Putting public housing in the suburbs is going to bring out the NIMBY in people, even in many liberals. So having a Texas AG that supports this is going to be literally dangerous for Texans who have located themselves to be away from this sort of thing.

    May I remind everyone of the Dian Street Villas?


    “More than 700 nearby residents also signed an online petition called “STOP Dian Street Villas.” In the 250-plus comments associated with the petition, community members also said they fear the development will put a strain on infrastructure and increase flooding risks in the area, reduce property values and lead to more crime.

    “I don’t oppose affordable housing. That has nothing to do with it,” Clark Pines resident Rebecca Bass told the TDHCA board during Thursday’s meeting. “My neighbors are great, and we just want to conserve what’s here for the neighborhood. It’s not a good place for this. There’s a million other places in Houston that would be a good fit.””

  3. Jason Hochman says:

    This might explain why there have been grandiose attacks upon Prescott Bush and accusations of him being smart enough to cut off Houston from the federal trough. When it comes to federal money, the local officials are like the fish at Kemah Boardwalk that go crazy when someone dumps food into the water.

    Trump shouldn’t bother with endorsements. He should focus on election information. The Democrats took a page from the Republican/Russian play book and used not just misinformation but outright lies to change the outcome of the election. After the election, we saw how Gov. Cuomo was not a hero, and then we saw how the China lab leak theory was indeed a possibility and not just “conspiracy craziness” or “racism from Trump.” Something needs to be done about voters making choices based on lies, and I would say voter suppression may be necessary, ironically, as the way to save our democracy from those who think that The Science is following arbitrary numbers.

  4. Lobo says:


    Re: “It’s moderately interesting that Trump endorsed Greg Abbott in his race, much to Don Huffines’ annoyance and without waiting to see if Sid Miller will wallow into the contest.”

    Even more moderately interesting will be the forthcoming bid by Allen West to depose King Abbott I and grab the scepter for himself.

    Raw text here: https://www.texasgop.org/allen-west-resigns-rpt-chairmanship/

  5. Ross says:

    Bill, the people opposing Dian Street Villas are morons. Nearly all of them moved into townhouse style homes that displaced small houses on large lots that were owned or occupied by lower SES residents. The morons are the ones that increased density and runoff with their homes.

  6. Lobo says:


    Maybe Allen West will go Kinky and pull a Strayhorn on Abbott.

    Consider this, folks:

    Rick Perry won re-election in 2006 with 39% of all votes. His tally was 1,716,792.

    But Perry’s victory score chalked up in 2006 is actually smaller than the votes garnered by *losing* Democratic opponent Tony Sanchez in 2002, and *losing* Democratic opponent Bill White in 2010, who got 1,809,915 and 2,102,606, respectively.

    How is that possible?

    Well, it’s because it wasn’t a 1-on-1 Dem vs. Rep contest in 2006, and Perry obviously couldn’t take the support of all those who had previously voted for him for granted, once more options (ignoring the sure losers, such as G and L candidates) were available on the ballot.

    In 2006, a well-known moderate Republican (Strayhorn) decided to run as an independent rather than primary Perry, and Kinky Friedman jumped into the fray as an idiosyncratic nonpartisan. Together the two independents did about as well as Democrat Chris Bell. Perry still won, but with much less than 50% of all ballots cast and counted.


    Perry in 2002: 2,617,106 (58%)
    Perry in 2006: 1,716,792 (39%)
    Perry in 2010: 2.733.784 (55%)

    Same person, same office, and incumbent status in all three elections.

    The key point here is this: All you need to win is the most votes, which doesn’t have to be a majority.

    So, if Allen West were to run as an independent, he — or any candidate, including Mr. McCenter — could win with less than majority support.

    If West were to challenge Abbott in the GOP primary, however, he has to beat him in a run-off, if one is needed. In other words, West would have to win majority support from the GOP primary electorate, but could bypass that hurdle by competing with Abbott in the general election, in which he could win with less than 50% of the general election voters.

    West would still have to get more votes than Abbott, but Abbott might lose center-right voters to an independent, such as Mr. McCenter, should McCenter enter the race. That leakage of prior support is what presumably explains why Perry did so much worse in the vote count in 2006 compared to 2002.

    Kuff may think that McCenter would split the Dem vote and go down in history not only a loser, but also a big-time spoiler.

    Not necessarily so. He may help bring Abbott down, and would even have a chance to win (with a plurality). But he could alternatively make it possible for Beto to win even if Beto is not majority-capable. At this juncture, I would argue that the TDP would be better off with McCenter running as an independent, rather than him seeking the Dems’ mantle in a primary fight that will neither fit him, nor key constituent parts of the party.

    Nothing would be predictable in a four-way general election contest featuring Beto, Abbott, McConaughey, and West. Each would have a fighting chance to come out as the top dog. And none could just settle on vilifying a singular antichrist or sundry monster as a campaign strategy.

    The dynamic would be interesting from a horse-race perspective — to mix animalia metaphors — and would likely enliven the discourse over policy prescriptions and contending principles. The debate over the political future of Texas would no longer be dichotomous or Manechaean, but would become multifaceted and perhaps go from black-and-white to polychromatic.

  7. C.L. says:

    Ross is absolutely correct – the area bound by West 12th to the South, West 16th to the North, Dian to the West, and North Durham to the East is predominately paved over, two story stucco crackerbox townhomes on 2,200sqft lots. The vast majority are not ‘forever homes’ or properties to be passed down to your progeny. It’s transient housing full of numbnut homeowners who appear to be chock full of misplaced privilege.

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