While Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) headed south to Mexico last week, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton (R) went north to Utah, with his campaign spokesman confirming on Monday that he was not in the state at the height of the winter storm that left millions of Texans without power and water amid freezing temperatures.
In a statement, spokesman Ian Prior told The Texas Tribune that Paxton was on a "previously planned" business trip to meet with Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes (R). Accompanied by his wife, state Sen. Angela Paxton (R), Paxton traveled to the state so he could speak with Reyes about the upcoming Google antitrust case, Prior said, as well as other issues. Reyes spokesman Richard Piatt told The Texas Tribune they met in Salt Lake City on Wednesday and Friday.
On Wednesday, 2.7 million households in Texas were without power, and by Thursday almost half the state had water troubles, The Texas Tribune says. Prior said Paxton "did not leave Texas until after power had returned to most of the state, including his own home." On Friday, Paxton's office released an advisory saying he will investigate the state's grid operator "and other entities that grossly mishandled this week's extreme winter weather."
The Texas Tribune asked Prior if Paxton is back in Texas, but never received an answer. Democrats in the state slammed Paxton for leaving Texas amid the brutal storm, which left at least 30 people dead. "This is a pattern," Texas Democratic Party Chair Gilberto Hinojosa said. "Texas Republicans do not give a damn about the people they were elected to represent, and they continue to focus on issues that don't affect the lives of everyday Texans to gaslight them into thinking they are doing their jobs."