TEXAS — After hinting at it for weeks, Texas Land Commissioner George P. Bush announced Wednesday he's running for Texas attorney general, setting up what could be one of the most competitive primary challenges with embattled incumbent Ken Paxton.
“We have a web of corruption and lies that affect one of the highest offices in our land,” Bush said during a campaign kickoff event in Austin Wednesday evening. “It’s time for a change.”
Bush has vowed to make Paxton's legal troubles front and center in his campaign. Paxton has been under indictment on securities fraud charges since 2015. He's also under investigation by the FBI over allegations from former senior aides that he abused his office to help a wealthy donor. Paxton has denied wrongdoing in both cases.
"We need an attorney general stacking up mugshots of hardened criminals, not an attorney general that's stacking up mugshots of himself," Bush said.
Paxton's campaign did not address the legal issues in a statement, but said Texans know his "rock-solid conservative record."
"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 top of the spear in protecting President Trump's America First principles."
Both Paxton and Bush are courting Trump's endorsement. Bush told reporters Wednesday he's asked the former president for it personally. Trump said in a statement last week that he'd endorse in the race soon.
Bush is breaking with his politically famous family in courting Trump's support. His father, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, lost a bitter 2016 presidential primary to Trump and his uncle, former President George W. Bush, told People magazine he wrote in former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice's name for president in 2020, rather than vote for Trump.
Bush was first elected land commissioner in 2014 and won reelection four years later.
During his time leading the General Land Office, Bush has faced criticism over the major renovation of the Alamo historic site. He's also been criticized for his recovery efforts after Hurricane Harvey. Paxton will likely hit Bush over both.
At least one Democrat, former Galveston Mayor Joe Jaworski, has launched a campaign for attorney general.