Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton (R) easily thwarted a primary challenge from Land Commissioner George P. Bush (R) on Tuesday, making him the favorite in November despite a string of legal and ethical scandals. He will face Democrat Rochelle Garza, a former American Civil Liberties Union lawyer.
"Paxton has faced a securities fraud indictment for seven years," The Texas Tribune recounts. "More recently, the FBI began investigating him for abuse of office after eight of his former top deputies accused him of bribery. He also reportedly had an extramarital affair." Bush hammered Paxton on his legal and personal scandals, all of which he denies, "but none of Bush's attacks gained traction with socially conservative voters in the runoff, who said they preferred Paxton's combative style to Bush's more civil and polished approach," the Tribune adds.
Bush's efforts to beat one of the most vulnerable statewide incumbents were further hindered when former President Donald Trump and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick (R) endorsed Paxton. But Bush was also handicapped by his famous last name and political lineage — son of former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R) and nephew and grandson to two presidents who share his name.
"This defeat could mark the end of a four-generation political dynasty, and the end of an era of Texas politics that began when the first George Bush moved to Odessa in 1948," the Tribune reports.
"Texas politics have shifted so much in the last 20 to 30 years that the family that was Republican royalty have gone from that to basically being vilified for essentially being mainline doctrinaire conservatives," Jon Taylor, a political scientist at the University of Texas at San Antonio, tells the Tribune. "The Bush family helped to build the modern Republican Party of Texas."
"The Bush family name is essentially what the Romanov family name is in Russia," counters Cal Jillson, a political scientist at Southern Methodist University in Dallas. "There's still somebody out there claiming to be czar but nobody's listening."