There have been signs that Mr. Paxton’s litany of controversies has tested the limits of Texas Republicans’ patience with him. Rep. Chip Roy, a Tory who worked for Mr. Paxton, called for his resignation in 2020. Besides Mr. Bush, Mr. Paxton’s main challengers included Rep. Louie Gohmert, who gave up a secure congressional seat in East Texas to run against him, and Eva Guzman, who resigned from the Supreme Court from Texas to challenge him in the primary.
During his campaign, Mr. Gohmert predicted that Mr. Paxton would face a new federal indictment after winning the Republican nomination and losing the general election to a Democrat. If Mr. Paxton does win the nomination but is defeated in November, it would be a devastating first for Republicans: no Democrat has won a statewide office in Texas since 1994.
In the Democratic primary for attorney general, Rochelle Garza, a civil rights lawyer from South Texas, garnered the most votes and is heading to a runoff. His Democratic opponent remained unclear. Third-place candidate Lee Merritt, a civil rights attorney, said in a statement that he was not prepared to concede to second-place candidate Joe Jaworski, a former Galveston mayor, because the military and other votes were still in progress. counted. Ms Garza said she was confident the attorney general’s office could go from red to blue. In 2018, Mr Paxton won re-election by narrowly beating his opponent, Justin Nelson, by 3.56 percentage points.
Mr Paxton brushed off any suggestion of a Democratic victory in the fall. “In this country, the allegations don’t convict you,” he said in the Lubbock radio interview.
Mr. Paxton’s aides said Republicans in Texas did not care about the allegations and controversies surrounding his office. They claimed credit for attacking Mr. Gohmert and Ms. Guzman in order to get Mr. Bush through to the second round. After the Paxton campaign attacked Ms Guzman in TV ads in the final days before the primary, she fell from 21% of the vote during the early voting period to just 14% of the vote on Tuesday.
“These ads clearly cost Eva a spot in the second round,” wrote Dick Weekley, senior chairman of the mainstream Republican group Texans for Lawsuit Reform, which endorsed Ms. Guzman, in an email to supporters after the primary.
Mr. Paxton and Mr. Bush are certain to continue to portray themselves as the true steward of Trump supporters among Texas Republicans.