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Politics

Incumbents Ken Paxton, Wayne Christian win Republican primaries

Close-up of attorney general Ken Paxton's face with district attorney emblem behind him.
Tony Gutierrez
/
Associated Press
Attorney General Ken Paxton’s primary victory came despite his being under indictment for securities fraud since 2015.

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Incumbent Ken Paxton defeated George P. Bush, the state’s current land commissioner, in the Republican primary runoff for Texas attorney general on Tuesday. This clears the way for Paxton to seek his third term in that office.

The runoff was one of a handful of statewide contests that extended into May after the March primary election. Also on the ballot were both party’s nominations for land commissioner and a Republican seat on the three-member Texas Railroad Commission.

Paxton’s victory came despite him being under indictment for securities fraud since 2015 in a case that has not yet gone to trial. He declined to debate Bush and touted the endorsement of former president Donald Trump throughout his campaign.

Paxton will face Rochelle Garza in November after the Brownsville native defeated Joe Jaworski, a former mayor of Galveston.

Garza is an attorney who made headlines after she successfully sued the Trump administration while representing an immigrant teenager who sought access to an abortion.

The elections came the same day a gunman killed nearly two dozen people, mostly children, at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde. The tragedy cast a pall over the day’s election and Paxton sounded somber during his victory speech, as Houston Public Media reported.

"We're going down there [to Uvalde] tomorrow," Paxton said at his watch party. "We're going to do our job tomorrow. We're going to try to help these people."

Bush also referenced the shooting a statement conceding his loss.

Things didn’t go as we planned. But after the tragic events of earlier today, it’s important to keep life’s temporary disappointments in perspective,” he tweeted.

Texas Land Commissioner

State Sen. Dawn Buckingham, R-Lakeway, easily defeated opponent Tim Westley to be the Republican nominee for land commissioner, the seat left open by Bush. Buckingham was also endorsed by former president Trump. If successful in November, she will become the first woman in that office.

“I am honored by the overwhelming support across the state to have won the Republican nomination to be your next Texas Land Commissioner! Onward to November,” she tweeted after the race was called.

Buckingham will face Jay Kleberg, a conservationist and scion of the King Ranch. Kleberg bested Martinez by about 28,000 votes.

The Texas Land Commissioner manages 13 million acres of state-owned land, as well as the distribution of disaster aid and help for the state’s veterans.

Texas Railroad Commission

Incumbent Wayne Christian defeated challenger Sarah Stogner, an oil and gas attorney who accused the current commission of being a “captive agency of the industry.”

Christian, a former longtime member of the Texas House campaigned largely on his pushback of progressive environmental policies like the Green New Deal.

In a tweet, Stogner hinted she wasn’t necessarily bowing out of politics for good.
“It’s a marathon not a sprint. Thank you to the tribe. See y’all at convention. Let’s get the name changed,” she said, referring to confusion surrounding the name of the agency, which regulates the oil and gas industry and has nothing to do with railroads or trains.

Christian said it was the “honor of his life” to serve on the commission.

“I'm thankful to @TexasGOP for re-nominating me for this vital office. I look forward to continue fighting for cheap, plentiful, reliable energy, as we stand up to the Biden’s radical liberal agenda,” he tweeted.

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Got a tip? Email Julián Aguilar at jaguilar@kera.org.You can follow Julián on Twitter @nachoaguilar.
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