As the race for Texas Attorney General heats up, will Trump's endorsement of Ken Paxton over George P. Bush stop the young politician's political career in its tracks?
George P. Bush
Article written by Jett James Pruitt
George P. Bush—the son of former Florida Governor Jeb Bush and nephew of former President George W. Bush—is running for Attorney General of Texas. Bush, who is the current Land Commissioner of Texas, announced his bid on June 2nd of this year.
“I am proud to announce I am a Republican candidate to be the next Texas Attorney General”, declared the younger Bush at a recent campaign event. His announcement was enthusiastically met with familiar chants of "U.S.A" throughout the venue.
Flashforward to July 26, 2021.
As most Americans know, the Bush family is far from an ally of former President Donald Trump. In the 2016 Republican Presidential Primaries, Trump and Jeb Bush famously sparred over the Bush legacy and the decision to invade Iraq in 2003.
More personally, Trump publicly called out for “no more Bushes” in 2013 and claimed in 2018 he single-handedly “beat the Bush Dynasty.”
Trump with George P. Bush's father, Jeb Bush
In response, former First Lady Barbara Bush unloaded on Trump in a February 2016 interview, calling him a “comedian” and “showman" among other things; former President George H. W. Bush allegedly called Trump a “blowhard”; and Bush #43 publicly attacked Trump, saying in a 2017 speech that Americans had seen “our discourse degraded by casual cruelty,” as well as “nationalism distorted into nativism," and finally, “the return of isolationist sentiments.”
Yet despite this, Bush has curried Trump’s favor over the years.
Supporting him in both 2016 and 2020, George P. Bush has been angling to win Trump’s endorsement for Texas Attorney General.
At first, it seemed to be working. Indeed, the former real estate mogul recently referred to George P. as “my Bush” and “the only Bush who got it right," as per Politico.
Then, the tower crashed.
Today, Bush’s primary opponent in the race is incumbent Attorney General Ken Paxton.
Texas Attorney General, Ken Paxton
Paxton, arguably one of the most pro-Trump state officials in the country, delivered a debilitating blow to Bush’s campaign by winning the endorsement of President Trump.
“Attorney General Ken Paxton has been bravely on the front line in the fight for Texas, and America, against the vicious and very dangerous radical left Democrats, and the foolish and unsuspecting RINOs [Republicans in Name Only] that are destroying our country," said Trump recently.
"Ken is strong on crime, border security, the Second Amendment, election integrity, and above all, our Constitution," Trump continued in a statement released yesterday.
“Ken has my complete and total endorsement for another term as Attorney General of Texas. He is a true Texan who will keep Texas safe—and will never let you down.”
After the former President made the endorsement on Monday, Bush tweeted, “I’m running for Attorney General because Texans deserve integrity and honesty from the office of Texas’ top law enforcement official. Texans deserve a candidate without a laundry list of existing and potential criminal indictments.”
Paxton Vs. Bush
To clarify, Paxton was indicted for securities fraud in 2015 and has been accused of bribery by a group of his former senior staffers. Paxton denies all allegations.
So, what are the short-term implications of Trump’s endorsement of Paxton? Well, it’s simple: George P. Bush is obviously in political trouble. Indeed, Trump’s endorsement is heavily weighted in Republican Primary elections.
In fact, FiveThirtyEight.com—a subsidiary of ABC News—tracked endorsements in every 2020 Senate, House, and Gubernatorial primary (i.e., those decided by August 25). Trump endorsed 111 candidates in these primaries, and 109 of them won their respective Republican nomination.
In other words, Trump has a 98 percent 'endorsement win rate' under his belt.
So yes, Trump’s endorsement is a coveted political commodity for nearly all Republicans. While Donald Trump no longer holds political office, it is evident that his influence on the Republican Party is not going away any time soon.
With this in consideration, does Bush still have a chance to defeat Paxton? The short answer is YES.
While Trump’s endorsement has historically determined elections, there was one notable exception in which a non-Trump-endorsed-candidate defeated his opponent: the 2017 Alabama Race for Senator.
Roy Moore, who was then the Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court, was pitted against incumbent Senator Luther Strange. Strange received both the endorsements of President Trump and Vice President Mike Pence, and outspent Moore by a margin of 10-to-1. Yet, to the astonishment of many, Moore defeated Strange by roughly 44,000 votes in the primary runoff election.
Paxton Welcoming Trump to Texas
Accounting for the fact that George P. Bush comes from a political powerhouse family, is a proven conservative, and has strong roots in the state of Texas, there is a chance he can stage a political comeback.
Only history will tell how this will all play out. Texans vote in the Republican primary on March 1, 2022. Nevertheless, choosing the right allies is a key skill every future political leader must possess.
What are your thoughts? Please share this article with your comments.