Attorney General Ken Paxton, following his acquittal by the Texas Senate, has embarked on a political revenge tour by endorsing primary challengers to state House Republicans who voted to impeach him. Paxton’s endorsement includes seven candidates, including those running against House Speaker Dade Phelan and Rep. Andrew Murr, chair of the House impeachment managers. This move is just the beginning, as Paxton’s campaign promises more details soon on a “statewide Fall tour,” during which he will make campaign stops with the endorsed candidates.
In a statement, Paxton expressed his concern over the dominance of liberal RINO Republicans in the Texas State House and his commitment to restoring a conservative majority. He stated, “Texas conservatives have seen their State House hijacked by liberal RINO Republicans for far too long. I’m making these endorsements to begin restoring a conservative majority in our state House.”
In response, Phelan’s campaign fired back, asserting that the constituents of the House Speaker will not be swayed by the influence of West Texas billionaires and their out-of-town political puppets. Notably, Tim Dunn and Dan and Farris Wilks, West Texas oilmen, have been significant donors to House primary challengers, as well as opponents of Paxton’s impeachment.
This series of endorsements comes on the heels of Paxton’s acquittal in his impeachment trial, further escalating the civil war within Texas Republicans. In May, the House overwhelmingly voted to impeach Paxton, accusing him of abusing his office to aid a friend and donor. Of the 85 House Republicans, 60 voted to impeach him, while two Republican Senators voted to remove him.
Following his acquittal, Paxton wasted no time in making it clear that he would campaign against the House Republicans who supported his impeachment. He announced his endorsements for seven candidates, including David Covey challenging Phelan and Wes Virdell challenging Murr. Paxton also backed Brent Money, one of the candidates in the November special election to replace expelled former Rep. Bryan Slaton.
The conflict between Paxton and Phelan is particularly intense, with Paxton repeatedly calling on Phelan to resign, while the speaker remains steadfast in his position. Phelan’s campaign spokesperson, Cait Wittman, emphasized that Phelan is focused on important issues such as addressing the Biden Administration’s border policies and growing the House Republican majority in 2024.
As this political feud continues to unfold, it remains to be seen how Paxton’s endorsements will impact the upcoming elections and the balance of power within the Texas State House.
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