AUSTIN, Texas – George P. Bush took his next political move on Wednesday: a candidacy for Texas attorney general in 2022 in which the offspring of a Republican dynasty was cast against a GOP incumbent on charges of securities fraud and an FBI investigation becomes.
Bush, who has been Texas Land Commissioner since 2015, is the son of former Florida Governor Jeb Bush and the nephew and grandson of two former presidents. He is the last of the Bush family left in public office – and was the first to break with them for supporting former President Donald Trump, who mocked the family that was once the face of the Republican Party.
He is now launching the first major challenge against the embattled Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, who served six years on charges of investor fraud and was recently accused of bribery by his own former top aides.
“Here in Texas we have a scandal that has plagued one of our highest offices. And I think the Conservatives should have a choice, ”Bush said at a campaign rally in Austin.
Bush, 45, said he spoke to the two Texas attorneys general who preceded Paxton – Republican Governor Greg Abbott and U.S. Senator John Cornyn – after the latest allegations surfaced, but he didn’t want to go into details. “There are concerns about that, so I’m willing to go out there and offer myself because everyone else was quiet and afraid to tell the truth about this guy,” Bush said.
Paxton’s campaign responded with a statement that made no mention of the allegations against him.
“Texans know the rock solid conservative record of Attorney General Paxton,” said Paxton spokesman Ian Prior.
Bush’s attempt to climb the Texas political ladder creates a potentially hurtful primary that will test GOP voters’ appetites for the Bush name and the persistence of a two-year attorney general embroiled in legal trouble but from last November Conservatives was greeted after filing a failed Supreme Court lawsuit seeking to overturn President Joe Biden’s victory.
When asked if he supported Paxton’s efforts to overturn Biden’s victory, Bush criticized Paxton’s legal strategy, saying there were irregularities, but conceded Biden’s victory. No widespread corruption was found, and Trump’s allegations of massive electoral fraud were also dismissed by a number of judges and refuted by state election officials.
On Tuesday, Trump backed Abbott for a third term but didn’t interfere in the Texas Attorney General race, which Bush had signaled for months that he would stand.
Hours before Bush’s announcement, Paxton’s office released a court letter denying allegations of inappropriateness by senior MPs sacked after participating in an extraordinary revolt against Paxton last fall. Eight employees accused Paxton of abusing his position on behalf of a wealthy donor who is now the target of an FBI investigation.
Paxton described the allegations as an “unfounded smear campaign” and pleaded not guilty separately in his 2015 case of securities fraud. He has also used his office for allies and other donors.
Meanwhile, in a moment of intense scrutiny and bipartisan outrage, Bush is entering the race in Houston over his General Land Office announcing the city would not receive a dime of the initial $ 1 billion in federal funding Texas promised after Hurricane Harvey were. He has also angered conservative activists over a renovation plan for the Alamo, the revered shrine in Texas.
The race is crucial to Bush’s political future in Texas, where, unlike his famous relatives, he has allied himself with Trump. Bush carefully circumvented Trump’s antagonism towards his family, which included ridiculing his father as “low energy” during the 2016 presidential campaign. His late grandfather, George HW Bush, had said he voted for Hillary Clinton in 2016, while George W. Bush said he voted for “none of the above”.
During a visit to Texas in 2019, Trump called George P. Bush “the only Bush who likes me.”