The Back MicThe Back Mic: Paxton, Bush Unveil Attack Sites, Lawmaker Spars with Abortion Funds, Legislators Call for Execution Stay

This week — Ken Paxton and George P. Bush push dueling attack websites, a lawmaker impugns a claim by abortion funds about Roe v. Wade, and 83 Texas House members join the push to stay Melissa Lucio’s execution.
April 1, 2022

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Attorney General Candidates Launch Attack Websites 

The race for Texas attorney general has been among the most contentious in the state this cycle, and both candidates now have websites up dedicated to attacking their opponent.

Land Commissioner George P. Bush announced the launch of

“At any moment, Ken Paxton could be ‘perp-walked’ from the Attorney General’s office and thrown behind bars,” said Bush in a release. “Paxton has spent almost 20 years deceiving the people of Texas under the guise of public service. With a rap sheet a mile long, it’s time to lock Ken up.”

The website criticizes Attorney General Paxton for various incidents such as the allegations of abuse of office from his former executive team, reports of an extramarital affair, accusations of bribery, and even the case of a mis-acquired thousand-dollar pen.

The Texan Tumbler

In response, Paxton’s campaign has publicized its own attack website against Bush — called — which criticizes the land commissioner’s now-defunct plan to relocate the Alamo cenotaph, the dispute with the City of Houston over control of Hurricane Harvey disaster aid, and 2011 comments by Bush discussing the DREAM Act and its provision granting in-state tuition to children of illegal immigrants.

It also decries Bush’s 2022 debate comment when he called Paxton’s 2020 lawsuit against four other states “frivolous” that changed election law through executive orders — something Texas did too, but for which it was not included in the lawsuit.

“While Land Commissioner George P. Bush has wasted Texans’ time and resources touting his feckless lawsuit,” Paxton said in a release, referencing Bush’s own lawsuit against the Biden administration for halting border wall construction. “I’ve taken meaningful action to hold Joe Biden and his radical administration accountable for their open-borders agenda in court – delivering real results for Texans.”

The candidates will square off on May 24 for the GOP nomination.

Legislators Push Back Against Organizations Facilitating Abortions

A few Texas House Republicans are making the case that businesses and organizations that facilitate abortions are breaking state law that forbids governments from joining any kind of “taxpayer resource transaction” with abortion providers or their affiliates.

Rep. Briscoe Cain (R-Deer Park) sent cease-and-desist letters to eight abortion-funding organizations in Texas. 

In response, legal representation for the organizations said, “Your letters falsely accuse our clients of engaging in criminal acts by funding abortions in any situation in which the mother’s life is not in danger.”

“This accusation, which you have made public by publishing the letters on social media, is objectively false, and has been for almost 50 years,” the representation adds, citing the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in Roe v. Wade as having “struck down…the statutory scheme” Cain cited.

In a counter-response provided to The Texan, Cain objected to this claim. 

“Courts do not have the ability or the authority to ‘strike down’ or formally revoke statutes when pronouncing them unconstitutional.”

Cain added, “If you are advising your clients that they may continue flouting [Texas law] with impunity, then you are committing legal malpractice and exposing yourself and your law firm to criminal sanctions and professional discipline. And if you and your clients want to adhere to your delusional belief that article 4512.2 no longer exists as the law of Texas, then we welcome the opportunity to have the judiciary set you straight.”

83 Texas House Members Call for Stay of Execution for Melissa Lucio

A sizable majority of the Texas House has joined the calls for a stay of execution for Melissa Lucio, a woman on death row for a 2008 capital murder conviction.

Lucio was found guilty in the death of her two-year-old daughter that occurred in 2007. Lucio is scheduled for execution next month.

A group of legislators from both parties held a press conference last week calling for the execution postponement, spearheaded by Reps. Jeff Leach (R-Plano) and Joe Moody (D-El Paso). Specifically, those advocating for the stay question how her confession was obtained and say that she has been rehabilitated through faith.

In a letter sent to the Texas Board of Pardons & Paroles, the legislators said, “A commutation or, at a minimum, a reprieve, would prevent further harm to a family that has already experienced tremendous loss.”

The legislators who signed the letter are:

  • Alma Allen (D-Houston)
  • Steve Allison (R-San Antonio)
  • Rafael Anchía (D-Dallas)
  • Ernest Bailes (R-Shepherd)
  • Michelle Beckley (D-Carrollton)
  • Keith Bell (R-Forney)
  • Diego Bernal (D-San Antonio)
  • Rhetta Bowers (D-Dallas)
  • Brad Buckley (R-Kileen)
  • John Bucy (D-Austin)
  • Angie Chen Button (R-
  • Briscoe Cain (R-Deer Park)
  • Liz Campos (D-San Antonio)
  • Terry Canales (D-Edinburg)
  • Sheryl Cole (D-Austin)
  • Nicole Collier (D-Fort Worth)
  • David Cook (R-Mansfield)
  • Phil Cortez (D-San Antonio)
  • John Cyrier (R-Lockhart)
  • Jay Dean (R-Longview)
  • Alex Dominguez (D-Brownsville)
  • Art Fierro (D-El Paso)
  • John Frullo (R-Lubbock)
  • Charlie Geren (R-Fort Worth)
  • Barbara Gervin-Hawkins (D-San Antonio)
  • Jessica González (D-Dallas)
  • Mary González (D-El Paso)
  • Vikki Goodwin (D-Austin)
  • Bobby Guerra (D-Mission)
  • Sam Harless (R-Spring)
  • Brian Harrison (R-Midlothian)
  • Ana Hernandez (D-Houston)
  • Abel Herrero (D-Robstown)
  • Gina Hinojosa (D-Austin)
  • Donna Howard (D-Austin)
  • Dan Huberty (R-Houston)
  • Lacey Hull (R-Houston)
  • Celia Israel (D-Austin)
  • Jacey Jetton (R-Richmond)
  • Ann Johnson (D-Houston)
  • Julie Johnson (D-Farmers Branch)
  • Ken King (R-Canadian)
  • Matt Krause (R-Fort Worth)
  • Lyle Larson (R-San Antonio)
  • Jeff Leach (R-Plano)
  • Oscar Longoria (D-Mission)
  • Ray Lopez (D-San Antonio)
  • John Lujan (R-San Antonio)
  • Trey Martinez Fischer (D-San Antonio)
  • Armando Martinez (D-Weslaco)
  • Terry Meza (D-Irving)
  • Mayes Middleton (R-Wallisville)
  • Ina Minjarez (D-San Antonio)
  • Joe Moody (D-El Paso)
  • Penny Morales Shaw (D-Houston)
  • Cristina Morales (D-Houston)
  • Eddie Morales (D-Eagle Pass)
  • Geanie Morrison (R-Victoria)
  • Victoria Neave Criado (D-Dallas)
  • Candy Noble (R-Lucas)
  • Tom Oliverson (R-Cypress)
  • Claudia Ordaz Perez (D-El Paso)
  • Lina Ortega (D-El Paso)
  • Jared Patterson (R-Frisco)
  • Ana-Maria Ramos (D-Richardson)
  • Richard Peña Raymond (D-Laredo)
  • Ron Reynolds (D-Missouri City)
  • Eddie Rodriguez (D-Austin)
  • Toni Rose (D-Austin)
  • Jon Rosenthal (D-Houston)
  • Matt Schaefer (R-Tyler)
  • Carl Sherman (D-DeSoto)
  • Phil Stephenson (R-Wharton)
  • Lynn Stucky (R-Denton)
  • James Talarico (D-Round Rock)
  • Senfronia Thompson (D-Houston)
  • Steve Toth (R-The Woodlands)
  • Chris Turner (D-Dallas)
  • Gary VanDeaver (R-New Boston)
  • Cody Vasut (R-Angleton)
  • Armando Walle (D-Houston)
  • James White (R-Hillister)
  • Erin Zwiener (D-Driftwood)


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Brad Johnson

Brad Johnson is a senior reporter for The Texan and an Ohio native who graduated from the University of Cincinnati in 2017. He is an avid sports fan who most enjoys watching his favorite teams continue their title drought throughout his cognizant lifetime. In his free time, you may find Brad quoting Monty Python productions and trying to calculate the airspeed velocity of an unladen swallow.