10:26AM – Austin, TX USA
South Austin Republican Club
Dallas Emerson, Communications Director & Data Analyst
Primaries are often ugly—and Republicans’ primaries have been uglier than usual lately.
When politicians disagree on policy or ideas, primaries can be enlightening, allowing voters to partake in choosing the direction of the party, and the evolution of our shared ideology.
When politicians share essentially the same ideas, the debate comes down to one of character; which means that everyone should grab their ponchos, because the mud will be slung.
The Texas Attorney General’s Republican Primary is an example of this phenomenon. Heading into the runoff, Ken Paxton, the incumbent, and George P. Bush, Texas’ Land Commissioner, must be thoroughly examined.
Both are dedicated followers of President Trump’s MAGA movement, with Paxton holding Trump’s endorsement, but Bush is a close ally of the former President as well.
Both men are conservative. Ken Paxton has been a staunch defender of Texas’ rights as a state and fought to ensure that the Federal Government abides by its own laws. George P Bush has worked within his power as Land Commissioner to secure the Southern border during unprecedented waves of immigration in Texas.
Neither could be described as “moderate” or as a “RINO.”
So, we at South Austin Republicans Club have interrogated the character of these two men.
And as a result, we believe Ken Paxton to be compromised in his role as Attorney General, beset by scandal, and in his seventh year of indictment for securities fraud.
The bedrock of our legal system is the presumption of innocence. In no way are we commenting on his innocence or guilt; that is to be determined by a jury of Paxton’s peers.
But the role of Attorney General relies in large part on moral authority, not just a bright legal mind. And after seven years of investigation, Paxton is a tarnished man.
He has faced widespread staff resignation, has chosen to recuse himself from some of his duties as Attorney General, and faces scrutiny regarding ethical violations for the funding of his legal defense fund.
Within weeks of joining the Texas State Senate, his wife, Senator Angela Paxton, filed legislation that would allow the Attorney General to issue exemptions for the very actions he was under investigation for allegedly committing.
Rather than pushing for his day in court, Paxton has sought every delay, every legal tactic to avoid a verdict being reached.
Texas’ credibility is weakened by this spectacle.
He has operated under this cloud for too long, and with his court date approaching, he will, by necessity be focused on his defense, not on the legal needs of the state. Texas needs an Attorney General that can be 100% dedicated to the job at hand.
This brings us to the other man in the race, Land Commissioner George P. Bush.
Son of former Florida Governor, Jeb Bush, George P Bush carries a name and legacy that evokes mixed emotions. While it is unfair to judge a man by his father’s, uncle’s, or grandfather’s actions, it cannot be denied that the Bush family is a dynasty in American politics.
The concept of one family wielding so much power is rightfully unsettling to most Americans. Many Republicans are reflexively distrusting of Kennedys for this reason, and after decades of dominance by the Bush family, the GOP is wary and weary of further Bushes.
Bush is not without controversy of his own; primarily the bizarre, emotionally charged, debate over the Alamo, which Bush was charged with renovating. During this time, it was alleged that Bush wanted to erect a statue of Mexican Dictator Santa Anna—a claim made without any evidence. Bush responded that these rumors were due to his ethnicity, as his mother is a naturalized citizen from Mexico. We do know that Bush wanted the Cenotaph—an absolutely staggering monument to the brave defenders of the Alamo—moved off the Alamo grounds. This plan was defeated.
However, the strongest critics of Bush voice few concerns other than the arcane Alamo fight and his family name.
Frankly, these criticisms have little bearing on his ability to execute the duties of the Office of Attorney General.
George P. Bush, as was previously stated, is a conservative Republican. He has campaigned on further securing the border and cracking down on crime—which he notes has risen under Paxton’s watch.
It is never enjoyable to take sides in an intraparty fight. SARC usually avoids endorsing before primaries as this unnecessarily divides the party, leaving us weaker. And in a city like Austin, we cannot have that weakness.
But sometimes, a line has to be drawn.
In this case, the Executive Committee of the South Austin Republicans Club felt that AG Paxton’s scandal has outweighed his ability to faithfully execute his duties. If he were the employee of a small business, under investigation for fraud, accused of violating ethics, unable to perform all his duties because of these investigations, and his work being judged as suspect because of the scandal he refused to put to rest—he’d be fired. And in this case, SARC agrees; he should be fired.
For these reasons, we the Executive Committee have chosen to endorse George P. Bush for Attorney General of Texas.
Press Release: South Austin Republican Club Announces Endorsement for Texas Attorney GeneralTweet
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