After weeks of speculation, Texas Land Commissioner George P. Bush officially announced his intention to challenge Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton in the 2022 Republican primary.
Bush made the announcement at an event in Austin on Wednesday evening.
A member of the Bush political dynasty, George P. Bush is the son of former Florida governor and former presidential hopeful Jeb Bush and the grandson of former president George H.W. Bush. He is also the only Bush to currently hold political office.
Ahead of the announcement, Bush participated in an interview with KXAN News, in which he took aim at Paxton.
“We need an attorney general that’s focused on the job instead of trying to stay out of jail,” said Bush.
Additionally, Bush says he discussed the possibility of his candidacy with Gov. Greg Abbott before making his decision.
“I’ve talked with him several times through the session and also in response to the scandal that broke late last year—and he was positive. He said he’s going to stay out of the race. He, you know, obviously has a lot on his plate with respect to ongoing special session items that he has prioritized,” said Bush.
Bush was elected land commissioner in 2014, the same year Paxton took office, and was re-elected in 2018 despite opposition in the Republican primary.
During his time in office, Bush has repeatedly stoked the ire of grassroots conservatives over his plans to “reimagine the Alamo” and move the Alamo Cenotaph—measures that were ultimately defeated by citizen actions.
Bush has been weighing a run for attorney general since at least October, after a number of incumbent Ken Paxton’s lieutenants alleged he violated the law and announced their intent to work with law enforcement to hold him accountable.
Paxton, however, alleges it is his employees who are in the wrong.
“They disagreed with me on certain matters, which, of course, is fine. Indeed, I always encourage robust debate and discussion among my senior staff. But rather than asking clarifying questions seeking to understand my decision-making, they sought to depose me, cooking up false allegations and trying to attack me in the court of public opinion. They have failed in the their desperate bid,” Paxton said on Wednesday shortly before Bush’s announcement.
In response to Bush’s announcement, Paxton’s campaign pointed toward his record in office.
“From defeating Joe Biden’s dangerous executive order halting deportations of illegal aliens, to his willingness to stand up for secure elections, Ken Paxton has been and will continue to be the tip of the spear in protecting President Trump’s America First principles.”
Paxton’s team also added that “even Mr. Bush publicly acknowledges there is no more conservative fighter than Attorney General Ken Paxton.”