AUSTIN (KXAN) — Ken Paxton is expected to win the Republican runoff for Texas attorney general, defeating Lands Commissioner George P. Bush.
See election results in this race below as of 7 p.m.
Paxton led the way to the primary but was unable to cross the 50% vote threshold to avoid a runoff. Bush finished second in the field of four candidates, edging out Congressman Louie Gohmert and former Texas Supreme Court Justice Eva Guzman.
Paxton began a victory speech around 8:50 p.m. acknowledging the mass shooting in Uvalde, Texas.
“I will not forget these people even if we celebrate a victory here. I want you to remember them in your prayers and, you know, we’re Texans first. Elections – and elections, and we’re going to fight in America, we stand up for our ideas, but in the end, it doesn’t matter whether these people are Republicans or Democrats, they’re fellow Texans and fellow Americans. We love them and we will pray for them.
Paxton thanked his family and campaign members.
“It’s really the Texans who have made a difference for me, and I’ve had the chance, again, to travel the state and connect with people who realize this country is in trouble, and we’re struggling, but we have hope. We will fight and elect leaders who will go to fight, and the only reason I decided to run for another term was so that we could go and fight together, we could lead the other states – all those who will join us in the fight to save our country.”
Paxton joked that he probably could have brought a few more lawsuits against the Biden administration if he hadn’t campaigned and urged people to re-elect his fellow Republicans in the fall.
Paxton has been Texas’ top lawyer since 2015. He and Bush have made the border a big part of their platform.
Bush challenged Paxton to five televised debates. Paxton did not respond to this challenge.
Bush sought to highlight the ongoing legal issues facing Paxton. He still faces a criminal case, for which he was charged with securities fraud in 2015, as well as a new FBI investigation and a lawsuit filed against him by his former aides.
Paxton called the investigations partisan and biased.
Bush issued a statement to his supporters, saying “never stop fighting for a cause you believe is right”.
“Things didn’t go as we had planned. But after the tragic events of earlier today, it is important to keep life’s temporary disappointments in perspective,” Bush wrote. “There are grieving relatives in South Texas today. My family and I mourn with them.
He went on to say “we will continue to fight for the rule of law in Texas. I trust and pray in Governor Abbott’s ability to control the southern border and ensure that the justice system and the rule of law in Texas are honored and upheld.
A poll by the University of Texas’ Texas Politics Project shows that Bush and Paxton have low approval ratings among voters. But their numbers showed a slight edge for Paxton with 35% favor to Bush’s 28%.