NORTH TEXAS (CBSDFW.COM) – The political equivalent to a game seven is now underway as early voting began Monday for the Texas primary runoff May 24.
One of the most negative and contentious races has been the Republican runoff for Attorney General between two-term incumbent Ken Paxton and George P. Bush, the current Texas Land Commissioner.
From the start, Paxton has called Bush too liberal and not a true conservative, and Bush has portrayed Paxton as a corrupt politician who Republicans should back away from because he poses a risk to the party.
In an interview with CBS11 and CBS News Dallas-Fort Worth, Bush said, “We need to hit the reset button, clear the slate, and make sure we beat the Democrats and go with someone who follows the Constitution and follows the law for our state.”
Bush is hoping primary voters hear his message.
He has sharply criticized Attorney General Ken Paxton for the state felony charges he’s faced since 2015 and for bribery accusations made by his former top lieutenants at the Attorney General’s Office who reportedly went to the FBI.
Paxton has denied any wrong-doing in both cases.
A new poll by the Dallas Morning News and UT-Tyler shows the race has tightened with Paxton leading Bush by six percentage points, 41 to 35%.
Those surveyed who said they still don’t know who they will vote for reached 24%.
Last month, a Texas Hispanic Policy Foundation poll showed Bush trailed Paxton by 42 percentage points and found some Republicans wouldn’t vote for him because he’s a member of the Bush family.
Bush has responded on Twitter.
“I’m George P. Bush and I’m proud of my family’s contributions to Texas and America. But this race isn’t about my last name. It’s about Ken Paxton’s crimes.”
We asked Bush about last month’s poll numbers. “I’m not a pollster and like I said with you during the regular primary, the most important poll is on Election Day.”
Paxton’s campaign hasn’t returned our requests for interviews with him.
He has won the backing of former President Donald Trump who in Austin this past weekend reminded Republicans of his endorsement.
In a video posted on Paxton’s Twitter account, the former President is standing with the Attorney General and said, “He’s done a terrific job for Texas and for our country and he has my complete and total endorsement.”
Paxton hasn’t attended any candidate forums or debates, either for the regular primary or the runoff.
During our interview Bush said, “I’ve challenged him to ten televised debates, five televised, five in front of grassroots conservatives. He hasn’t accepted one invitation. The reason is because he doesn’t want to be asked the tough questions.”
Early voting ends Friday.
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