AUSTIN (Nexstar) — Texas General Land Office Commissioner George P. Bush announced Wednesday evening he is officially throwing his hat into the ring for Texas Attorney General.
He said the Republican party needs new leadership in the AG’s Office, as current AG Ken Paxton continues to face several legal battles of his own.
“We need an attorney general that’s focused on the job instead of trying to stay out of jail,” Bush said in an interview ahead of his Wednesday night rally.
In 2020, Paxton’s top aides reported him for abuse of office, bribery and other criminal offenses, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation is currently investigating. Paxton has repeatedly denied doing anything wrong, most recently filing an appeal to overturn a court’s decision not to dismiss his case.
Paxton was also indicted in 2015 on felony securities fraud charges. That case is still ongoing.
“It’s time to reset this agency,” Bush said.
Aside from Paxton’s legal issues, Bush also said Paxton hasn’t delivered for Texans.
“He’s good at the headlines. But in terms of actual results, that’s where he’s been lacking,” Bush said. “It’s harder to actually win, to see a case all the way through to its final result and actually succeed.”
Bush said he’s ready to challenge the Biden administration’s policies.
“If you look at Biden’s executive orders, most of those orders deal with natural resources. So oil and gas, land management, farming and ranching issues, and who better to take on those cases than the Land Commissioner for the state?” Bush said.
Bush also added he would be focusing on human trafficking, the crisis at the border and backing the blue.
Paxton is just his primary opponent, though. Democrat Joe Jowarski has been campaigning for months.
“I’m a third-generation trial lawyer, 30 years experience working for the judges, the defense bar, the plaintiffs bar and as a full-time mediator now,” Jowarski said. “It is important that you have political acumen as well as a trial lawyer’s heart, if you want to be the Texas Attorney General. I think I checked those boxes.”
He said he agrees with Bush that Paxton needs to go but disagrees on what the focus of the state’s top lawyer should be.
“My goal in serving as Texas Attorney General would be to focus not only on consumer protection, but also restoring voting rights, protecting voting rights, and this is for all people of all political stripes,” Jaworski said Wednesday.
Bush gave Jowarski credit for the amount of money he’s already been able to raise but said he’s more concerned about the Democratic party as a whole.
“Democrats know that if Ken Paxton is the nominee, they will have their first statewide elected office in Texas and close to 30 years,” Bush said.
Ken Paxton put out a statement after bush’s announcement at the rally, pointing to his conservative record. That includes defeating Biden’s executive order halting deportations earlier this year.
“I have a proven vote-getter for Republicans in a general election. In 2014, I was the highest vote-getter. 2018, I was number two behind the governor. So in ’22, with the support of so many Republicans… you won’t have to worry about us holding the seat,” Bush said.
Bush also explained the conversations he’s had with other state leadership about his run for AG, including Gov. Greg Abbott.
“I’ve talked with him several times through the session and also in response to the scandal that broke late last year — and he was positive. He said he’s going to stay out of the race. He, you know, obviously has a lot on his plate with respect to ongoing special session items that he has prioritized,” Bush said, adding he also had a conversation with Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick last week.
“I think what leadership in Texas wants are just… they want to reset in this office, they want a new face. And I’m willing to offer that,” Bush said.
He said with Paxton being in office for 20 years, he’s expecting plenty of blows from the career politician.
“I’m expecting everything under the sun. But what I’m going to focus on are the issues that improve this agency, improve the condition of victim services,” Bush said, adding he’d also work to update the infrastructure of the agency like he did with the GLO.
“I hear from constituents that have reached out to the Attorney General’s Office asking for help in response to an assault, robbery or a home invasion or a felony of some sort. And they have yet to get a response from the Attorney General’s Office. Certainly technology and new leadership can help better serve the constituents of the state,” Bush said.