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Come November, Texas Attorney General race could be close

It looks like it's going to be a tight race between Paxton and Garza in November.

HOUSTON — Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton has a razor-thin lead over his Democratic challenger Rochelle Garza for the top law enforcement job in Texas.

Undecided voters and dark clouds are hanging over Paxton amid federal investigations of wrongdoing -- likely damaging his polling numbers.

However, Republicans are hoping GOP voters return in November.

Political experts call the race for AG the most winnable statewide race for Democrats this year. A University of Texas at Tyler poll shows a dead heat in the race.

  • 34% of registered voters polled support current Paxton for re-election. 
  • 32% support civil rights attorney Garza.

“The problem here is that Mr. Paxton is a drag on his own campaign and with Republicans,” KHOU 11’s political expert Bob Stein said.

In a ruby red state, Stein said most of the damage happening to Paxton’s campaign is a base of Republican voters not wanting to vote for him.

“What he’s going to need is a bigger disparity in turnout,” Stein said. “He needs more Republicans to vote than Democrats.”

Marred by an FBI investigation into criminal conduct and indictments, the polling shows Republican voters may be looking at additional options besides Paxton with Libertarian Mark Ash picking up 8% support.

“34% couldn’t answer the question: 'Does Mr. Paxton have the integrity to be the Attorney General?' These are Republicans,” Stein said.

As Paxton lines up for a fundraiser with former president Donald Trump, at least one Republican strategist said he thinks Paxton will maintain his lead.

“He has proven time and time again that when it comes down to it, he’s willing to stand in that breach. He’s willing to file lawsuits against government overreach,” Vlad Davidiuk said.

Democrats said they see an opening in a possible weakened candidate.

“This man’s been indicted for countless number of years, we’ve seen no action in it and he continually leads Texas in these frivolous lawsuits against the government,” Odu Evbagharu, the Harris County Democrats chairman, said.

Paxton has about a 40% approval rating and has a money advantage over Garza.

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