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Piece of Mind: Paxton Faces Tough Campaign

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Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton has endured, shall we say, a rocky tenure as the state's chief legal eagle.

The former Collin County state legislator has been indicted for securities fraud and is awaiting state court trial; he has been accused of wrong doing by seven top assistants in the Texas AG's office of doing illegal business; he has sought to overturn free and fair results in the 2020 presidential election only to have the U.S. Supreme Court toss his lawsuits out with nary so much as a hearing.

Can it be any wonder that the Republican attorney general has been challenged in the 2022 GOP primary by two big hitters and also now might face a high-powered Democrat ... if he somehow manages to survive the Republican primary challenge?

Texas Land Commissioner George P. Bush announced his intention to run for AG. Bush's legal credentials don't stand up to his political standing. Indeed, the land commissioner is the grandson and nephew of two prominent Texans: the late former President George H.W. Bush and former POTUS George W. Bush, respectively; oh, and he's the son of former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush.

He has said, basically, "enough is enough, Ken" as he seeks to restore honesty and credibility to the Texas attorney general's office.

Now we have former Texas Supreme Court Justice Eva Guzman, whose legal credentials are stellar in the extreme. Guzman might lack George P. Bush's political standing, but her knowledge of Texas law as well as her reputation are beyond reproach.

Guzman resigned from the state's highest civil appellate court and then jumped right back into the fray.

Then there's noted civil rights lawyer Lee Merritt, who just the other day announced his intention to run in the Democratic Party primary next year. Merritt has been involved in many high-profile cases involving police-related deaths of black residents. He presents a formidable challenge all by himself.

I'll re-state my bias right here: Ken Paxton is a chump. I want him removed from office. My preference would be for him to be convicted of securities fraud by a jury, which would result in his immediate removal. My second choice would be for him to lose his primary bid either to Bush or Guzman, which -- the more I think about it -- looms as a distinct possibility.

Choice No. 3 -- which appears to be the least likely -- would be for Paxton to lose to a Democrat in the fall of 2022. My strongest hope is that the AG doesn't get that far into this upcoming election cycle.

John Kanelis, former editorial page editor for the Amarillo Globe-News and the Beaumont Enterprise, also is a former blogger for Panhandle PBS in Amarillo. He is retired but is still writing. Kanelis can be contacted via Twitter @jkanelis, on Facebook or his blog, www.highplainsblogger.com. Kanelis’s blog for KETR, “Piece of Mind,” presents his views and does not necessarily reflect the opinion of KETR, its staff or its members.

Kanelis lives in Princeton with his wife, Kathy.

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