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Election 2022: Paxton projected to beat Bush in Republican race for Texas AG

The incumbent has collected two-thirds of the vote in Bexar County and across the state as of 8:40 p.m.

SAN ANTONIO — Ken Paxton is projected to secure the Republican nomination in his bid for re-election as Texas attorney general, having collected two-thirds of the vote in Bexar County and across the state as of 8:40 p.m. with 49% of precincts reporting. 

Paxton looks to have fended off Texas Land Commissioner George P. Bush as he seeks to hold on to the position he first attained in 2015. 

See the latest vote totals below as ballots continue to be counted.

RELATED: Election 2022: Paxton projected to beat Bush in Republican race for Texas AG

About the race

To win the Republican runoff — an election decided by the party faithful — Bush has to convince GOP voters that his conservative bona fides are unimpeachable. In recent years, he’s embraced the rhetoric of the more Trumpian faction of the party. He wants to build the border wall. He supports the state’s latest efforts to investigate the parents of transgender children for child abuse. He has said he wants his generation to be the one that ends abortion. He opposes same-sex marriage.

But despite his rightward shift, Bush has not broken through against Paxton — the most vulnerable Republican incumbent in statewide office who faces multiple scandals, including a seven-year-old indictment for securities fraud, an FBI investigation into allegations of malfeasance, accusations of cheating on his wife and a lawsuit by the state bar challenging his ethics as a practicing attorney. Paxton has denied any criminal wrongdoing.

When he first took over as the state’s land commissioner in 2015, he avoided negative press and did not harp on controversial social issues — appealing throughout his campaigns to disaffected Democrats and independents. He focused on wonky topics like water rights, making sure endangered species protections didn’t interfere with business interests and creating his sprawling agency’s first online oil and gas auctions. One of his first major moves was to cut down the size of the agency’s staff.

As his profile grew, Bush, whose mother is from Mexico, gained a reputation for courting diversity in the GOP and calling out members of the party who made racist comments.

By contrast, his opponent Paxton is the consummate social conservative. Upon being elected attorney general the same year Bush took over the land office, Paxton quickly made a name for himself by suing the federal government over immigration and going on the attack against gay marriage and abortion providers in the state.

He became a regular on Fox News and led the lawsuits that ended Obama-era policies like the expanded deferred action programs that would have protected the undocumented immigrant parents of some children born in the United States.

Election Day for the Texas primary runoff is Tuesday, May 24, 2022. Click here for everything you need to know, including a list of polling locations.

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