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Race for Texas Attorney General heating up

Incumbent Ken Paxton is being challenged by Land Commissioner George P. Bush in the Republican runoff primary.

TEXAS, USA — The race to grab the Republican Texas Attorney General nomination is heating up as the primary runoff approaches.

Incumbent Ken Paxton is attempting to keep Texas Land Commissioner George P. Bush at bay, but a last-minute push for voters has both campaigns flooding the airwaves with attack ads.

“Liberal land Commissioner George P. Bush said teaching critical race theory in Texas Schools was overly politicized,” one ad reads.

“Attorney General Ken Paxton has been charged with three felonies— that could land him in prison for life and the FBI is investigating Paxton for bribery," another said.

Down to the final stretch, Bush and Paxton are trying to persuade GOP voters to send them to take on the Democratic attorney general nominee come November. 

“I’m a Christian, I’m a father, I’m a husband, I’m a military veteran with experience in Afghanistan but more importantly I want to bring the experience as your land Commissioner to this important top legal position in our state and that starts with restoring trust and integrity which we’re not getting with a philandering felon at the helm,” said Bush.

Paxton did not respond to KHOU 11's repeated requests for an interview.

A Texas Republican strategist said Paxton is in a good position to claim the nomination. 

“Paxton has the benefit of having been in office for more than half a decade now and so he has established name ID, he has deep roots with the grassroots clubs and organizations and voters,” said Vlad Davidiuk.

Bush is looking to topple the strong incumbent but acknowledges there's work to do.

The latest numbers show competitive fundraising, but Paxton has much more cash on hand. 

However, Bush said there's a risk if Paxton wins the nomination on Tuesday.

“If Ken is nominated again, he probably will be perp-walked for the second time this term alone and we open the door for a Democrat to win,” he said.

Runoff participation will be a key indicator to watch for. In the March 1 Primary, Paxton received more than 676,000 votes and Bush received more than 354,000 votes.

Tuesday's election will be a referendum on who can turn out the most voters, which could favor Paxton.

“He’s been very effective at talking to Republican groups and Republican audiences about the work he has done in his role as Texas Attorney General,” said Davidiuk.

Whoever ends up taking the nomination will face attorney Rochelle Mercedes Garza or former Galveston Mayor Jay Jaworski, who will face off for the Democratic nomination in Tuesday's primary.

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