UPDATED March 2.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton was forced into a runoff with George P. Bush in Tuesday’s four-way primary election to become the Republican nominee in November.

Paxton finished first with 43 percent of the vote, according to unofficial results reported by the Texas Secretary of State.

Bush, the state’s current land commissioner, finished second with 23 percent, while former Texas Supreme Court Justice Eva Guzman and long-time East Texas U.S. Rep. Louis Gohmert tied for last with 17 percent each.

But it wasn’t certain Tuesday night who Paxton’s runoff opponent would be because of problems reported by Harris County’s appointed Democrat elections administrator, Isabel Longoria, that delayed counting of ballots in the state’s most populous county.

Because no candidate topped 50 percent, the top two finishers will go to a runoff election on May 24.

Ken Paxton was first elected as the Texas attorney general in 2014, after defeating establishment candidate Dan Branch in a Republican primary runoff. He was narrowly re-elected in the 2018 “blue wave” election after running unopposed in the GOP primary.

Prior to becoming attorney general, Paxton served in the Texas Legislature for six years.

This year, Paxton campaigned on his record of successfully challenging the Biden administration in court, working to secure elections, and “protecting President Trump’s America First principles.” Trump endorsed Paxton’s re-election bid.

Throughout his tenure, Paxton has faced legal challenges—from politically motivated securities fraud charges that federal officials dismissed but state courts have dragged out for years, to more recent allegations from several members of his top staff that he abused his office and violated the law. He’s also faced rumors of an affair.

George P. Bush, who is part of the Bush family political dynasty, was first elected land commissioner in 2014 and was re-elected in 2018 after winning a four-way GOP primary.

Bush drew fire from grassroots conservatives over his plans to “reimagine” the Alamo and move the Alamo Cenotaph—measures that were ultimately defeated by citizen actions.

Bush spent the most money on Tuesday’s primary race, according to the most recent campaign finance reports—$6.2 million, about half a million more than he raised.

The latest reports show Paxton raised $5.8 million this election cycle. His top donor was the Republican Attorneys General Association, which contributed $500,000.

Paxton spent $4.2 million and reports $4.7 million cash on hand. Bush reports $1.2 million cash on hand. Both will continue to fundraise for their runoff match.

Also-ran Guzman raised the most campaign cash: $8.3 million. Almost half came from the Texans for Lawsuit Reform PAC ($2.6 million) and TLR founder Richard Weekley ($1.1 million).

She raised eight times more than Gohmert and spent nearly six times as much ($5.7 million) but they drew the same number of votes.

The winner of the May 24 runoff between Paxton and Bush will advance to the November 8 general election.

Erin Anderson

Erin Anderson is a Senior Journalist for Texas Scorecard, reporting on state and local issues, events, and government actions that impact people in communities throughout Texas and the DFW Metroplex. A native Texan, Erin grew up in the Houston area and now lives in Collin County.

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