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Paxton’s Political Vendetta Yields Partial Success

Attorney General Ken Paxton spent considerable effort trying to unseat House members who voted to impeach him and court judges who blocked his attempts to prosecute vote fraud. He has had some success in his vendetta, with some of his endorsed candidates defeating incumbents.

According to a report by the Houston Chronicle, 15 of the 35 candidates Paxton endorsed won against incumbents or forced their challengers into runoffs. All three of his picks for the state’s highest criminal court also defeated incumbent judges.

One of Paxton’s top targets was Republican House Speaker Dade Phelan, who faces a runoff with oil and gas consultant David Covey. Phelan trails Covey 43 percent to 46 percent.

While Paxton’s influence was felt notably in primary races, most of the candidates he endorsed were also backed by other figures, such as Gov. Greg Abbot or former President Donald Trump. Only three candidates endorsed by Paxton alone managed to defeat incumbents, and when Paxton and Abbott’s endorsed candidates faced off, the governor’s candidate won 19 races, while the AG’s won two.

One of Paxton’s key victories was in District 60, where his endorsed candidate Mike Olcott defeated state Rep. Glenn Rogers. Rogers voted to impeach Paxton and opposed school vouchers. He charged that his opponents were the “most corrupt ever” and that the state was “‘bought’ by a few radical dominionist billionaires seeking to destroy public education.”

“History will prove Ken Paxton is a corrupt, sophisticated criminal,” Rogers wrote Wednesday in the Weatherford newspaper. “History will prove vouchers are simply an expensive entitlement program for the wealthy and a get rich scheme for voucher vendors. History will prove Governor Greg Abbott is a liar.”

Despite Paxton’s efforts, some incumbents, including those from his hometown, managed to retain their seats, indicating a nuanced political landscape. In particular, Paxton’s failure to unseat certain lawmakers who supported the impeachment highlights the resilience of the opposition within the party’s ranks.

In the judicial arena, Paxton’s involvement produced notable upsets, most notably on the Court of Criminal Appeals, where challengers defeated longtime incumbents Presiding Justice Sharon Keller and Justices Barbara Parker Hervey and Michelle Slaughter. The three judges represent a loss of about 60 years of experience from the bench..

Financially, Paxton didn’t spend any of his campaign’s money on endorsing candidates, instead relying on outside groups like Texans United for a Conservative Majority PAC to bolster his allies’ campaigns. That PAC spent more than $3 million supporting Paxton’s candidates.

In addition, Paxton used $2.3 million of his own campaign funds to reimburse his defense attorneys for their legal services.

Written by RA News staff.


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