This report is part of a series of profile stories Nexstar is doing on the Republican and Democratic candidates for Texas Attorney General.

AUSTIN (Nexstar) — As early voting for the March 1 primary kicks off, incumbent Attorney General Ken Paxton is polling below the threshold needed to avoid a runoff election.

Any candidate needs more than 50% of the vote to avoid a runoff. Earlier this week, a University of Texas/Texas Politics Project poll showed Paxton with 47% of Republican primary voters, current General Land Commissioner George P. Bush with 21%, former Texas Supreme Court Justice Eva Guzman with 16% and current Congressman Louie Gohmert with 15%.

All three challengers have said Paxton’s personal legal troubles played a major factor in entering the race. Aside from his ongoing indictment on securities fraud charges, seven of Paxton’s top aides reported him to the FBI with allegations of bribery and abuse of office.

Guzman said her experience sets her apart from the incumbent, and challengers.

“Texas is hiring a lawyer. I’m asking Texans to hire a lawyer with 22 years of experience in the judiciary. 12 of them on the Supreme Court of Texas, the highest court in the state,” Guzman said.

“I’m known for my respect for the rule of law. Ken Paxton thinks he’s above the rule of law. George P. Bush has not seen the inside of a courtroom as a lawyer since 2003. Louie Gohmert missed 846 votes while in Congress. We need an attorney general who is going to show up at work,” Guzman said.

All four candidates list border security as a top priority. The February UT/Texas Politics Project poll, Republican primary voters said border security and immigration are the top two issues facing the state right now.

Guzman said her efforts to secure our state’s southern border will be focused in the courts.

“That includes bringing in the types of lawsuits that force the Biden administration to do their job, which is to bring enough magistrates down to the border, to make sure that these claims are processed. I will use the courts to force the Biden administration to comply with Article Two of the Constitution, the take care clause, and under Article four, sue for the invasion, whether it’s fentanyl or humans or cartels, it’s an invasion,” Guzman explained.

She said border issues are personal for her.

“No one’s more motivated than me. Sadly, and tragically, my dad was killed many years ago by an illegal immigrant. I will sue Joe Biden, I will protect our borders so that no other family will have to experience what we did anyone can commit a crime,” Guzman said.

Beyond border issues, Guzman said if elected, she will also focus on protecting Texans from government overreach.

“I’ll always fight anything that impedes or restricts our individual freedoms, whether it’s mask mandates, closing our churches, vaccine mandates, we need to say no, to those types of intrusions,” Guzman said.

You can watch the full interview with Guzman in the video player below.

The last day of early voting is Feb. 25, the last day to apply for a mail-in ballot is Feb. 18, and the primary itself is on Tuesday, March 1.