In the GOP runoff election for attorney general, George P. Bush accused incumbent Ken Paxton of running a “Joe Biden-style campaign from his closet” by ducking debates and avoiding candidate forums across Texas.
Bush, in his second term as state land commissioner, said Paxton is eager to gloss over 7-year-old allegations of securities fraud and 2020 accusations by former deputies that Paxton misused the power of his office to help a friend and political contributor.
“Texas deserves better,” Bush told the American-Statesman in an interview. “Our party deserves to have somebody that can champion important values under the federal Constitution.”
Early voting for the Tuesday runoff is underway and ends Friday.
Paxton also was invited to sit for an interview, but his campaign did not respond. Watch the full interview here or continue reading below.
George P. Bush on Ken Paxton’s endorsement from Donald Trump
Paxton received praise from Donald Trump during the former president’s campaign-style stop Saturday at the Austin Convention Center. “He’s got a big election — get out there and vote,” Trump told the crowd of about 8,000.
Paxton received Trump’s endorsement in the four-way primary after Paxton unsuccessfully sued in December to overturn President Joe Biden’s election victories in four states, and then spoke at a Jan. 6, 2021, Trump rally in Washington shortly before the attack on the U.S. Capitol.
Paxton led with 42.7% of the March 1 primary vote, while Bush received 22.8%, forcing a runoff.
Bush acknowledged that Trump’s support “does have weight” but added that Paxton’s legal difficulties, including an FBI investigation into allegations of bribery and misuse of office, should trump the endorsement.
“But when it comes down to this runoff, people are like, we need somebody who’s beyond reproach, somebody who’s going to actually listen to my concerns and not try to stay out of jail,” Bush said.
Paxton has denied wrongdoing, blaming political rivals and rogue employees for the accusations, but Bush has made integrity the centerpiece of his campaign to oust the incumbent.
“My message to Republicans is, if you cannot with pride say to a fellow employee in your place of work, or in your church or place of worship, or to your children that you support Ken Paxton, then don’t vote for him,” Bush said. “You’ve got to actually be proud of who you support and who you get behind, and Ken fails in every score in that respect.”
Paxton’s campaign has focused on private appearances before GOP groups, such as Tuesday’s appearance before the Hill Country Retreat Republican Club in San Antonio, where he highlights his legal challenges to Biden administration policies.
What does George P. Bush say he’ll do as Texas Attorney General?
Bush said that, if elected, he would continue the attorney general’s office’s focus on challenging policies from the White House and liberal Texas mayors. But he said he wanted to improve the agency’s outreach to county prosecutors, becoming more proactive with offers to help on investigations and prosecutions.
Bush said he also wanted to rebuild trust with members of the Legislature who have been disenchanted by questions surrounding Paxton’s integrity.
“I think if Ken wins this race … a Democrat wins (in November), and that will be the first Democrat statewide officeholder in over 30 years,” Bush said. “That’s too much of a risk and a liability for Republicans to take.
“So why not go with somebody who is going to win in the fall, fight for good values, but not going to jail and not under indictment?” he said.