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Texas runoff showdown: GOP and Democratic attorney general candidates battle for Paxton seat |  KTA

AUSTIN (Nexstar) – Monday marks the first day of early voting for the May 24 runoff, where Texas voters will choose respective candidates for their party in several key races, including attorney general.

Voters were divided enough in the Democratic and Republican primaries that the attorney general forced the candidates to a runoff. Not a single Republican or Democratic candidate received more than 50% of the vote.

Incumbent Ken Paxton is facing a challenge from Lands Commissioner George P. Bush for the GOP nomination. Democrats will choose between civil rights attorney Rochelle Garza and trial attorney Joe Jaworski.

Second round of the Republican GA

A poll taken Sunday by the Dallas Morning News and the University of Texas at Tyler shows Paxton’s lead is now 6 percentage points over Bush.

Bush obviously campaigned more aggressively. His campaign says Bush has held more than 70 public events since the March 1 primary. Paxton has been most visible on his social media accounts and on conservative broadcast programming, touting his various lawsuits against the Biden administration.

A Bush campaign spokesperson said Paxton did not appear at any candidate forums or events where his opponent was present.

“We’re running a grassroots campaign to the finish line,” said Karina Erickson, communications director for the Bush campaign.

Brian Smith, a professor of politics at St. Edwards University, said it’s difficult to gauge the election results based on the polls because the election itself is very different from a primary election or general, where the participation rate is higher.

“We never know who will come to vote. It’s a strange time of year. It’s not really publicized as much, it doesn’t get as much media attention. And so in a second round anything can happen,” he said. “So he is [Bush] had a tough battle, but he’s trying to close this ground game.

In a Bush May campaign ad, he says he’s proud of his family’s heritage in Texas, but notes the race is bigger than Bush’s conservative dynasty.

“This race is not about my last name. These are the crimes of Ken Paxton,” he said in the ad.

Paxton’s legal woes have been the target of naysayers since even before the primary. He faces a years-old indictment for securities fraud, an ongoing FBI investigation into allegations of abuse of power, a whistleblower lawsuit from former top aides and complaints various groups and attorneys seeking to disbar him from the Texas State Bar.

Holder has avoided talking about his ongoing legal troubles and is focused on highlighting his performance as attorney general. He received Trump’s coveted endorsement early on, which polls show still carries significant weight with Republican primary voters.

Paxton’s campaign did not respond to requests for an interview or comment.

Democratic Second Round AG

Democratic voters will have a choice between civil rights attorney Rochelle Garza and trial attorney and former Galveston mayor Joe Jaworski.

The two waged a more civil campaign with each other, focusing their attacks on Paxton. Jaworski said the two agreed to support each other regardless of the outcome.

Jaworski said his three decades of experience as a trial attorney makes him the most qualified and capable of defeating Paxton, should he win the GOP nomination.

In the 2018 election, Paxton narrowly defeated a Democrat for attorney general. Jaworski said winning independent voters would be key to this potential showdown.

“They [independents] will not be influenced by a purity test in either part. They are going to look at the integrity of the experiment and the ethics,” he said.

Garza is best known for a case involving Paxton which she argued and won in the United States Supreme Court, after defending a teenage immigrant who was denied access to an abortion at a detention center for immigrants to Texas.

“We have an opportunity here to field a candidate who has a proven record of fighting for civil rights and winning,” she said. “I’m that candidate I know who can face Ken Paxton in November.”

Here we have the opportunity to present a candidate who has a proven record of fighting for civil rights and winning. I’m that candidate, I know I can face Ken Paxton in November

The issue of abortion rights has received renewed attention after a leaked draft opinion showed the High Court was set to overturn Roe v Wade, prompting progressives to organize protests across the country and calls to elect leaders who will protect reproductive health care.

Garza, who just gave birth to her first daughter a few weeks ago, said her new parenthood has also sparked a new spark in her passion for the issue.

“I want to make sure my daughter has a bright future and the next generation does too,” she said. “This can only be done by ensuring that she and all other young women are treated equally, as full human beings with human rights. And it starts with reproductive freedom.

Early voting began Monday and ends Friday, May 20. Voters did not have to vote in the primary election to vote in the second round, but had to choose one party’s ballot over another. The second round of elections will take place on Tuesday 24 May.

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