Garza finished the night well ahead of her runoff competitor, former Galveston Mayor Joe Jaworski, similar to Paxton’s strong lead over Land Commissioner George P. Bush in the GOP runoff.
Official results will take some time to solidify, but as of Wednesday morning the secretary of state showed Garza ahead of Jaworski by 25 points.
While the platforms of the two Democrats were similar, the policy differences between Garza and Paxton will be an obvious distinction in the months of campaigning ahead.
Listed plainly as the top priorities on her website, Garza explicitly details her opposition to Paxton on a number of hot-button issues ranging from election law to immigration.
She claims she will “dismantle Ken Paxton’s ‘election integrity unit’ [. . .] and replace it with a Voting Rights Unit” and that, “under the direction of Greg Abbott and Ken Paxton, our state is engaged in unconstitutional, wasteful border enforcement efforts.”
The former ACLU attorney has also touted her pro-choice credentials, citing her successful lawsuit at the Supreme Court defending an unaccompanied minor seeking an abortion after unlawfully entering the country.
Garza has highlighted her stance on abortion in light of the potential Supreme Court ruling to reverse Roe v. Wade and Texas’ trigger ban on abortion, should that ruling be officiallly released.
“When Roe is repealed & states are left to cherry-pick their own abortion regulations, Texans’ last line of defense against forced pregnancy will be the AG,” wrote Garza on social media. “No matter what the Governor signs, if it goes against the US & TX Constitution & hurts Texans, I will not enforce it. This includes abortion access restrictions.”
In addition to the policy difference between Garza and Paxton, the Democratic nominee is sure to continue highlighting allegations of corruption against the incumbent attorney general.
Paxton’s opponents have emphasized three separate issues.
First, since 2015, Paxton has been under indictment for securities fraud that originated with a complaint from two people including Byron Cook, a former state House Republican who was censured by the Texas GOP in 2018.
Second, in fall 2020, several of his senior aides Paxton appointed raised allegations of abuse of office and bribery against the attorney general, contending that he used his position to benefit Austin real estate developer Nate Paul.
Lastly, officials with the Texas State Bar have criticized Paxton for his lawsuit challenging the results of the 2020 presidential election in several key states.
The last time that Paxton was on the ballot in 2018, his Democratic opponent made use of the allegations of securities fraud.
Though he was still reelected, Paxton only received 50.6 percent, the smallest share of the vote out of any Republican candidate for statewide office in 2018. However, the U.S. Senate race of that year between Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Beto O’Rourke was narrower, as the Libertarian attorney general candidate received almost 150,000 more votes than the Libertarian Senate candidate.
With the new allegations of corruption since the complaint of securities fraud, the race for the attorney general could be the most contentious statewide race on the ballot this fall.
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Daniel Friend is the Marketing and Media Manager for The Texan. After graduating with a double-major in Political Science and Humanities, he wrote for The Texan as a reporter through June 2022. In his spare time, you're likely to find him working on The Testimony of Calvin Lewis, an Abolition of Man-inspired novel and theatrical podcast.