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HOUSTON – Incumbent Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton has won the Republican primary over George P. Bush, the Texas General Land Office commissioner, according to a race call from The Associated Press.
Paxton was endorsed by former President Donald Trump and is known for challenging Democratic presidents and blue Texas cities while working to move Texas further to the right.
His win comes on the same day that a gunman killed at least 21 people, including 18 children at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas.
In his victory speech, Paxton sounded a somber note, reflecting on the mass shooting.
“We’re going down there [to Uvalde] tomorrow,” Paxton said at his watch party. “We’re going to do our job tomorrow. We’re going to try to help these people.”
On Twitter, he wrote, “I ask you all of you to join me in praying for our fellow Texans impacted by the horrific shooting in Uvalde today.”
Paxton secured his victory despite heavy legal baggage. He was indicted on state securities fraud charges in the summer of 2015, less than a year after winning his first term as attorney general.
In 2020, the FBI opened an investigation into Paxton for alleged bribery, corruption and abuse of office, according to The Associated Press.
Throughout the campaign, George P. Bush blasted Paxton as unfit for office, arguing that Paxton’s legal troubles would make him especially vulnerable against his ultimate Democratic rival.
“The Republican Party is taking a huge risk going with Ken Paxton. In fact, he will lose to the Democrat in this race,” Bush said at a press conference in Austin Tuesday morning, all but acknowledging the likelihood of his loss to Paxton.
For his part, Paxton has vehemently denied any wrongdoing, citing a 374-page report that concluded he’s innocent. As critics have pointed out, the report came from inside the Texas AG’s office and was unsigned. The whistleblowers whose charges sparked the investigation released a statement criticizing Paxton for “numerous false and misleading public statements” about the investigation.
But for Republican voters inclined to support Paxton, his legal troubles didn’t make much of a dent.