Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton denies saying he will not support Gov. Greg Abbott’s re-election


AUSTIN (Texas Tribune/ KXAN) – Tuesday, a story in the New York Times raised eyebrows when Attorney General Ken Paxton said he would not support Gov. Greg Abbott’s re-election in the 2022 primary election.

“The way it usually works in a primary is that everyone runs their own race,” Paxton said in the NYT article. “I don’t think he’s supporting me; I do not support him.

But Paxton countered the play, titled “The GOP won it all in Texas. Then he turned on himself., ” Tweeter: “Fake news @nytimes hits again!” Let’s be clear: I support @gregabbott_TX! He’s a great governor and a great Texan.

Abbott is vying for a third term in 2022 and for months he has faced heat from some to his right, not least due to his response to the coronavirus pandemic. Paxton told The Times he wanted Abbott to reopen the state “a little sooner.”

A University of Texas / Texas Tribune poll released Tuesday found that 43% of voters in Texas said they approved of Abbott’s work, compared with 45% who said they disapproved. His approval rating was 77% among Republicans, a figure that has slowly declined throughout the pandemic. It was 88% in April 2020.

Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller and Texas GOP Chairman Allen West have not ruled out challenging Abbott. Miller has also raised speculation that he could run against Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick. And Land Commissioner George P. Bush is looking at an offer against Paxton.

While Abbott has recently taken punches from his right, Paxton has his own political issues. He was indicted for fraud on state securities for most of his time as attorney general, and the FBI is currently investigating allegations that he used his office to benefit a wealthy donor. Paxton denied wrongdoing in both cases.

Abbott, a former attorney general, has treated Paxton and his legal problems over the years with caution. Abbott declined to say whether he voted to re-elect Paxton in the 2018 primary – Paxton was unopposed – although Abbott continued to voice his support for Paxton in the general election.

Abbott said the latest allegations against Paxton “raise serious concerns,” but declined to comment further until any investigation is complete.

Paxton was one of former President Donald Trump’s main allies among attorneys general, and particularly during the final weeks of his tenure when Paxton launched a lawsuit challenging Trump’s loss of re-election in four battlefield states . Abbott has expressed support for the lawsuit, which the US Supreme Court refused to take.

Thanks to his legal woes, Paxton’s campaign has insisted on his intention to run for a third term as attorney general in 2022. If he sticks to that plan, he could face Bush, who has said ‘it was “Seriously Considered” a race against Paxton.

In the latest UT / Tribune poll, Paxton’s approval rating among voters in Texas was 32%, with 36% saying they disapproved of the job he does and 31% saying they didn’t. of opinion. Paxton earned a 59% approval rating among Republicans.

An Abbott spokesperson did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Paxton’s comments to The Times. KXAN has contacted the Paxton office and will update once we have a response.

This article originally appeared in the Texas Tribune at www.texastribune.org. The Texas Tribune is a nonprofit, non-partisan media organization that educates Texans – and engages with them – about public policy, politics, government, and statewide issues.

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